Los Choconeros was on the verge of revival before the break. They had a vital victory while thumping Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League. Unfortunately, covid-19 ruined their moment. Now, they have to pick up the winning spirit again when they take on Athletic Bilbao to improve their position in the standings. Atletico are now on the fifth whereas their opponent is on the tenth. It is a crucial fixture for both as they are targeting on UCL spot while the host is aiming for Europa League spot.
Both teams’ previous matches
Inaki Williams and Co were back on winning days while visiting Valladolid before the break. They hammered the host 4-1 by Unai Lopez’s, Raul Garcia’s, Inaki Williams’ and Inigo Cordoba’s goals, mainly taking the advantage of the host’s number of crucial errors in their defence line. Real Valladolid could only reply one goal from the former Barcelona reserved striker, Sandro Martinez.
Los Rojiblancos managed to stun The Reds in UCL before when they could overturn the scoresheet after being two goals behind at the early extra time. Liverpool took the lead first by Giorgino Wijnaldum’s header at the first half and Roberto Firmino’s tap into the back of the net at the first half of extra time after taking advantage of the deflection in the penalty box. Fortunately, the host’s reserved goalie, Adrian Murcia blundered as his passing was taken control by Diego Simeone’s men which led to Marcos Llorente’s goal and reduce their goal difference. Their two winning goals finally came as Klopp’s men were frustrated by their ‘parking the bus’ tactics. They swiftly initiated a counter attack and Marcos Llorente scored his second followed by Alvaro Morata’s killer strike just before the final whistle.
Bilbao under Garizka Garitano tends to employ two kinds of formations, 4-2-3-1 for the offensive approach and 5-3-2 for the defensive one, especially for the matches against stronger sides like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Valencia. The second one seems to be more suitable as they were able to snatch points against Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Diego Simeone actually has attempted various formations to maximise the current squad potentials from 3-4-2-1 or 4-3-1-2. Yet, eventually, he returns to opt for his favourite 4-4-2 with pragmatic approach. Unfortunately, their current frontmen have been inconsistent apart from Alvaro Morata. The supposedly wonder boy Joao Felix only manages to score four goals so far plus one assists. Diego Costa, Angel Correa and Vitolo are more and less the same.
Players to watch
The Bilbao’s top performers this season are Raul Garcia with nine goals and one assist and the two talented locals, Iker Muniain with four goals and two assists plus the striker Inaki Williams who has bagged six goals so far.
Meanwhile, Diego Simeone counts on their most notable figures are Alvaro Morata, the current top scorer of the club with his eight goals and one assists, and Saul Niguez. Another notable one is the top assist provider, the Argentine Angel Correa with five goals and six assists.
Bilbao vs Atletico Prediction
Both teams are in their positive form lately regarding their current results. However, playing at San Mames could be Gaizka Garitano’s men’s advantage. If they could lure the visitor’s side to control the ball more and play more offensive football, there would be space at the defense line to be exposed. Yet, a narrow win for the visitor’s side is more probable.
The match may be considered to be even but the punters back Alvaro Morata and Co to win at 2.25. The host is only projected to win at 3.80, whereas the odds for draw result are at 2.90.