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Primera División

  • November 27, 2011
  • • 18:45
  • • Estadio San Mamés, Bilbao
  • Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
  • • Attendance: 30000
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La Liga Preview: Athletic Bilbao v Granada

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


PROBABLE LINEUPS

ATHLETIC BILBAO

Iraizoz
Iraola, J Martinez, Amorebieta, Aurtenetxe
De Marcos, Perez
Muniain, Herrera,
Susaeta
Llorente
GRANADA

Roberto
Nyom, Lopez, Mainz, Siqueira
Moises, M Rico
Jara, Martins, Benitez
Geijo


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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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1IraizozGoalkeeper
3AurtenetxeDefender
35AmorebietaDefender
8Javi MartínezMidfielder
15Andoni IraolaDefender
19MuniainStriker
8IturraspeMidfielder
21Ander HerreraMidfielder
10Óscar De MarcosMidfielder
14SusaetaMidfielder
14Fernando LlorenteStriker
13RaúlGoalkeeper
6San JoséDefender
17Íñigo PérezMidfielder
11Igor GabilondoMidfielder
-David LópezMidfielder
2ToqueroStriker
32Borja EkizaDefender
13RobertoGoalkeeper
3Guilherme SiqueiraDefender
15Pape DiakhatéDefender
2Íñigo LópezDefender
2Allan NyomDefender
15UcheStriker
4Fran RicoMidfielder
17Carlos MartinsMidfielder
-Hassan YebdaMidfielder
11Franco JaraStriker
11IghaloStriker
13Júlio CésarGoalkeeper
20Moisés HurtadoMidfielder
23Jaime RomeroMidfielder
17Mikel RicoMidfielder
-Alex GeijoStriker
23AbelMidfielder
-Dani BenítezMidfielder
Players to Watch
Muniain
Muniain
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 19
Games Goals YC RC
3 1 0 0
Bilbao's golden boy has flourished in the free midfield role given to him by Bielsa this season and he will be in the spotlight again as he sets about unlocking the Andalusian back line.
Mikel Rico
Mikel Rico
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 17
Games Goals YC RC
3 0 0 0
Combining defensive and offensive responsibilities, Bilbao-born Rico is a key man in the Granada midfield, who will need to be at his combative best to give his team a foothold in the game.
Prediction
San Mames remains a daunting place to visit for many - as champions Barcelona found out earlier this month. It is hard to predict anything other than a comfortable home win.
Editor's Prediction
Bilbao 3

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