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Primera División

  • November 28, 2010
  • • 18:00
  • • Estadio San Mamés, Bilbao
  • Referee: Ignacio Iglesias
  • • Attendance: 35000
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La Liga Preview: Athletic Bilbao - Osasuna

La Liga Preview: Athletic Bilbao - Osasuna

Los Rojillos are the latest side to go into los Leones’ den...

Special Affiar

Humbled by Real Madrid last weekend, Athletic Bilbao will attempt to reassert themselves in the Primera Division by overcoming local rivals Osasuna, who have shown two distinct faces this season.

Los Leones travelled to the Bernabeu last weekend with some degree of hope that they could unseat Jose Mourinho’s charging Blancos, but they were tamed in a most emphatic manner by the Primera Division leaders. Twice they conceded in the opening half hour, and though Fernando Llorente briefly rekindled hope of a shock, Madrid would run out 5-1 winners.

“To achieve a positive outcome we had to be strong defensively, but we have not been at the level we needed to be,” coach Joaquin Caparros lamented after the game. “How can I be happy if we have conceded five?”

But there is a desire to quickly bounce back in this derby affair. “I have no doubt that you will be very complicated,” Pablo Orbaiz explained to Marca. “We know the derby is not worth nothing and is very special to both sides.”

If los Leones are to seriously compete in La Primera Division this season, their defence has a good deal of tightening up to do. Fuelled by Llorente, the offence has yet to be shut-out in league action this season, though the rearguard has leaked a worrying 23 times – more than any other club in the top flight aside from Malaga.

Hurting


Osasuna’s route to a mid-table spot has been rather more unconventional than their weekend hosts’, who nevertheless only lie one point better off than los Rojillos. Jose Antonio Camacho’s men made a wretched start to the campaign but have bounced back in recent times, enjoying particularly strong form at home, even if they have been poor on the road.

At the Reyno de Navarra, Osasuna have scored seven times without conceding en route to three successive victories, but on their travels they have earned just one point all season, coming by way of a stale 0-0 draw against a Deportivo La Coruna side who were then in the heart of the relegation zone.

“It will cost us much, but we have to be hurt that everyone thinks we're going to lose,” Juanfran told Marca. “To win at Athletic we must play an almost perfect match.

“Away from home, something is always happening. The first thing to do is not to make any mistakes.

“We should be positive and ambitious. We cannot relax because if we lose two successive games we will go down.”

Osasuna are clearly trying to channel an underdog spirit in their camp, and if they can rouse themselves for this match they will gain a great deal of confidence for the campaign ahead. There is little to suggest that los Rojillos have the mentality to win at ‘La Catedral’, however.


TEAM NEWS

Athletic


Fernando Llorente has been prevented from training this week due to acute gastroenteritis, but that shouldn’t prevent him from featuring at the weekend.

Gaizka Toquero, Carlos Gurpegui, Fernando Amorebieta and Jon Aurtenetxe could all be involved in the starting XI too. Ustaritz (adductor) and Aitor Ocio (tendonitis) are both doubts.

Osasuna

Carlos Aranda faces a fortnight on the sidelines because of a muscular injury, while Damia Abella is a doubt due to a problem sustained on Thursday.

Walter Pandiani and Lolo are both expected to be involved from the outset.

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Players to watch

Susaeta

Position: Midfielder

Games: 1

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Markel Susaeta has progressed impressively through Athletic’s reserve team to reach the starting XI, and he is now a regular on the right side of their midfield. At just 22-years-old, he is one of the great prospects of Joaquin Caparros’ side and will be looking to earn some more stripes in the derby. Expect him to feed Fernando Llorente, who remains los Leones’ undisputed goal-getter.

M. Shojaei

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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Masoud Shojaei has been Osasuna’s best player over the last month, never enjoying a single outstanding game but persisting at a high level of performance. The Iranian international will probably be stationed on the left side of the midfield and will be expected to get through a lot of work, defending solidly and getting forward to support the attack, like he did brilliantly last weekend when he scored the winning goal against Sporting de Gijon with a composed finish.

Editor's Prediction

The power of Athletic at home should be enough to see off an Osasuna team who are really struggling on the road. Being a derby, this encounter is a little more unpredictable, but the hosts should claim the three points in a game that will likely provide goals.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Athletic Club

Osasuna

Wins
3
0
2
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
Athletic Club Bilbao Athletic Club
Draw
CA Osasuna OSA
CA Osasuna Osasuna
72%
15%

Top 3 Predictions

Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
2 - 0
CA Osasuna OSA
Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
3 - 1
CA Osasuna OSA
Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
2 - 1
CA Osasuna OSA

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