Preview: Athletic Bilbao v Granada
Sports Mole provides an overview of Friday’s La Liga clash between Athletic Bilbao and Granada, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Bilbao athletics will look to return to their winning streak in Spain’s top flight as they continue their 2021-22 home campaign for Grenade Friday night.
The Basque team are currently eighth in the La Liga table with 19 points, while Granada have only collected 11 points this season, which has placed them 17th in the division.
Athletic have won four, drawn seven and lost two of their 13 La Liga appearances this season, allowing them to collect 19 points, which is enough for eighth place heading into the next round of matches.
MarcelinoThe team have lost just one of their last seven games in the Spanish top flight, although that loss came at home to Cadiz on November 5, and it’s now been four games without a win at this level.
Indeed, since defeating Villarreal on October 23, the Basque side have drawn with Espanyol, Real Sociedad and Levante, in addition to suffering the surprise setback of a home goal against Cadiz.
Athletic finished 10th in the Spanish top flight last season but won fifth place in 2015-16 and will believe he is capable of fighting for a potential European place this season.
The Lions will look to secure back-to-back La Liga victories over Granada, having recorded a 2-1 victory when the two sides last met in San Mames in March.
Granada will enter Friday’s game after a 4-1 home loss to Real Madrid last weekend, as they also suffered a 2-0 loss to Espanyol before the international break.
It is clear that the start of the season has been difficult for Robert moreno, with a total of 11 points in 13 matches leaving them in 17th place, tied on points with 18th Elche.
Granada have finished seventh and ninth in their last two seasons at this level, so it would be fair to say that a lot was expected of them this season, but their performances so far have been largely disappointing.
The Red and Whites have won two of their last three league meetings with Athletic but have not been victorious away from the Basque side in the Spanish top flight since September 2014.
Granada have actually performed better on the road this season than at home, collecting six points from seven away games and just five from six games in front of their own supporters.
Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:
Granada La Liga form:
Athletics will be absent Asier Villalibre, Daniel Viviane, Peru Nolaskoain and Yuri Berchiche Friday night due to an injury, but the Basque roster has no new fitness issues from this week’s training.
Head coach Marcelino still has plenty of options for change, with Oier Zarraga, Oihan Sancet and Nico williams among those who grow for spots on the side.
However, there shouldn’t be any major surprises when it comes to the home side’s XI, with Alex Berenguer, Iker Muniain, Inaki williams and Raul garcia all likely to retain their spots.
Granada, meanwhile, will be absent Isma Ruiz, Victor Diaz, Luis Milla and Domingos Duarte Friday night on injury.
Visitors will also not be able to use the services of Monchu, the midfielder who received a red card in the home loss to Real Madrid last time.
Diaz’s absence in a defensive zone will open the door to Raul Torrente to begin with, as Monchu’s suspension could see Yan Eteki figure in central midfield.
Jorge Molina is also pushing to be involved in the bottom third of the peloton and could come in to the side to Ruben Rochina, who played as a striker against Real Madrid.
Possible starting line-up from Athletic Bilbao:
Simon; Balenziaga, I Martinez, Yeray, Lekue; Berenguer, D Garcia, Vencedor, Muniain; Williams, R. Garcia
Possible starting line-up in Granada:
Maximian; Quini, Torrente, Sanchez, Neva; Suarez, Gonalons, Eteki, Puertas; Soro, Molina
We say: Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Granada
Athletic must achieve a victory in the Spanish top flight and we believe the home side will triumph here. Granada had started to improve before losing two games in a row, but Athletic should have enough to score three important points at San Mames.
Our expert tipster partners on Sporita.com predict more than 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their proven football tips.Over 1.5: data