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Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid Predictions

Published on 7:30pm GMT 12 August 2023

  • 19:30
  • Expired
  • San Mames Barria
Athletic Bilbao
Real Madrid
  • Viaplay Sports 1

Both Teams To Score

Reason for tip

Real Madrid’s diamond midfield gives them an impressive strike partnership supported by Jude Bellingham, but their midfield trio behind could be exploited by the hosts’ talent on the wings. Thibaut Courtois usually bails out the Real backline, but he’s a long-term absentee. Back this to be an open, high-scoring clash.

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Draw 2-2

Reason for tip

Real Madrid have just won five of their last 13 away games in La Liga, but the hosts won just two of their 14 meetings with sides above them last term. Defensive issues stick out for both sides, so look to a 2-2 draw with neither side looking all that convincing ahead of the game.

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Athletic Bilbao vs Real Madrid Predictions

  • Real Madrid have lost goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for most of the season
  • Carlo Ancelotti has switched to a narrow midfield that Athletic can exploit
  • However, the visitors will struggle to contain Real’s Brazilian strike partnership

Hola Jude

Jude Bellingham is set for his La Liga debut on Saturday night as Real Madrid head to Athletic Bilbao, but it’s not all rosy for the Spanish giants. Thibaut Courtois has suffered an ACL injury which will keep him out until 2024.

Now Real are forced back into the transfer market, with David De Gea thought to be a target. However, Carlo Ancelotti could have used more signings for his final Bernabeu campaign, with Karim Benzema only replaced by Joselu and no major additions to their backline.

That’s left Ancelotti forced to make some tactical tweaks, but there could be some teething issues.

Can Ancelotti’s diamond shine?

The diamond midfield, a 4-1-2-1-2 system, was Ancelotti’s go-to approach at AC Milan and he has returned to that plenty of times since. However, outside of Serie A it hasn’t found much success, especially against sides who can expose his team on the wings.

Ancelotti has little choice than to go with the diamond, with Bellingham adding to an already strong midfield trio. However, the three players behind Bellingham have to cover a lot of defensive work, which will play into the hosts’ hands.

Athletic have Iker Muniain and Nico Williams on either flank and midfielders coming to cover them will clear space through the middle for Iniaki Williams and Oihan Sancet. Sancet has scored each of the last two Athletic Club goals against Real Madrid in La Liga and he’s a rising star to watch this term.

The hosts have the weapons needed to cause Real problems, especially with Courtois ruled out. However, the visitors will cause problems with Bellingham supporting a front two of Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior. As a result, both teams to score looks like the best option here.

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