La Liga Preview: Athletic Bilbao v Granada
Marcelo Bielsa’s men look to extend their hot run of form against the unfancied Andalusians at San Mames
By Karthick Arvinth
Iraola, J Martinez, Amorebieta, Aurtenetxe
De Marcos, Perez
Muniain, Herrera, Susaeta
Nyom, Lopez, Mainz, Siqueira
Moises, M Rico
Jara, Martins, Benitez
Following a tumultuous start, Marcelo Bielsa’s Basque revolution is well and truly under way after a string of impressive results that has seen the club go on an 11-game unbeaten run. The Argentine coach has won plenty of praise for his team’s crisp passing game that led to a first win in 18 years at Sevilla on Sunday and helped the Basque club climb to seventh in the league table.
Athletic welcome back defenders Borja Ekiza and Fernando Amorebieta from injury and suspension respectively for the visit of Granada. Ander Iturraspe also makes a comeback from suspension but may have to settle for a place on the bench following Inigo Perez’s solid showing in the 2-1 win over Sevilla.
Struggling Granada’s season took a turn for the worse after their home game with Real Mallorca was called off midway through the second half – with the home side leading 2-1 - after the assistant referee was struck by an object thrown by a fan. Although the Spanish football federation has since ruled that the game will be completed behind closed doors in December, it will come as scant consolation to the Andalusian outfit, who will rue the nature in which a game that was going in their favour was stripped away from them.
Granada coach Fabri Gonzalez has a few minor injury concerns ahead of the trip to the Basque Country. Defenders Diego Mainz and Guilherme Siqueira may shake off knocks to the hamstring, while on-loan midfielder Dani Benitez could miss out with back pain. Portuguese midfielder Carlos Martins is expected to be available for selection despite an illness in his family.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Athletic Bilbao have won four and drawn four in their impressive eight-game unbeaten run in the Primera Division
- Teenage defender Jonas Ramalho became the first black player to represent the Basque club when he came on as a late substitute against Sevilla.
- Athletic are one of only three clubs which have never been relegated from the Spanish top division, the others being Real Madrid and Barcelona.
- Granada are competing in the Primera Division for the first time in 35 years.
- The Andalusians hold the unenviable distinction of having scored the fewest goals in La Liga (six).
- All six of Granada’s goals this season have been scored by different players.
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Top 3 Predictions
Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Granada
- 30.71 %
Athletic Bilbao 3-1 Granada
- 14.17 %
Athletic Bilbao 3-0 Granada
- 14.17 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Sep 30, 2013||Granada 2 - Athletic Bilbao 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Apr 1, 2013||Athletic Bilbao 1 - Granada 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Nov 4, 2012||Granada 1 - Athletic Bilbao 2|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Apr 11, 2012||Granada 2 - Athletic Bilbao 2|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Nov 27, 2011||Athletic Bilbao 0 - Granada 1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Athletic Bilbao 1 - FC Barcelona 0||LIGA|
|Nov 25, 2013||Malaga 1 - Athletic Bilbao 2||LIGA|
|Nov 9, 2013||Athletic Bilbao 2 - Levante 1||LIGA|
|Nov 3, 2013||Atletico Madrid 2 - Athletic Bilbao 0||LIGA|
|Oct 31, 2013||Athletic Bilbao 2 - Elche 2||LIGA|
|10||Óscar De Marcos||Midfielder|
|13||Raúl Fernández Mateos||Goalkeeper|
|6||Mikel San José Domínguez||Defender|