La Liga Betting Special: Can struggling Athletic Club avoid a historic relegation?

The side from Bilbao have spent their entire history in the Spanish top flight, but a poor start to the season has put their status in danger

There are few clubs in La Liga with as proud a tradition and identity as Athletic Club. The Bilbao outfit are the only team along with Real Madrid and Barcelona to have never been relegated.

14 matches into the season though, they find themselves inside the drop zone. Eduardo Berizzo took charge of the team in the summer after an extremely lacklustre showing last term under Jose Ziganda, which saw Bilbao finish 16th in the table.

The Argentine was expected to bring a brand of high-intensity football similar to the heady days of compatriot Marcelo Bielsa, who took Athletic to the Europa League final in 2012. 

Diego Simeone Eduardo Berizzo Atletico de Madrid Athletic de Bilbao LaLiga 10112018

Lack of clinical edge

Berizzo wasn't able to implement his ideas though and there is a feeling that maybe the side simply do no have the players to play the kind of football the coach wanted. The 49-year-old was relieved of his duties after a 3-0 defeat to Levante on Monday.

Athletic only field Basque players, or those born or raised in the Basque Country, and as such they are limited when it comes to transfers.

The side have also been limited in the final third, with just two strikers in the squad: Inaki Williams and 38-year-old Aritz Aduriz. A total of 14 goals from 11 games gives an idea of where some of the problems lie although things could have been different for the Lions of San Mames.

Fine margins

Two of the side's last three defeats have been by single goal margins, while they have three times squandered two goal leads to draw 2-2 twice and lose 3-2 when they visited Atletico Madrid.

Athletic Bilabo Relegation Special

They have managed draws against both Barcelona and Real Madrid, but have also suffered some heavy defeats with the 3-0 loss to Villarreal their worst home league loss in three-and-a half-years.

Prices and predictions

In theory Athletic should have too much quality in their squad to go down, but this season is proving to be an extremely unpredictable one in La Liga.

Sides who were expected to struggle like Alaves, Levante and Girona are all in the top seven, while European hopefuls Valencia, Villarreal and Athletic are all struggling towards the bottom.

bet365 offer Athletic at 7/2 (4.50) to be relegated for the first time in their history. New manager Gaizka Garitano performed a miracle with tiny Eibar getting them promoted to La Liga four years and the price of 100/1 (101.00) is offered for him to produce another miracle and get Athletic into the Champions League places this term. 

Prices correct at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly. 

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