Atletico Madrid’s last match before the season’s hiatus was a thrilling 3-2 win over Liverpool in the Champions League, but punters should expect a much tighter affair when they resume their La Liga season away to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
Bilbao had lost four of their previous six matches before the enforced break, but that could be attributed to the distraction of the Copa del Rey, in which they have set up a final with bitter rivals Real Sociedad.
Having now had time to settle, Bilbao can make it tough for Atletico at the San Mames, where they beat Barcelona on the opening day of the season and have conceded only seven goals in 13 matches, giving them the best home defensive record in the division.
Atletico Unbeaten in Five
Bilbao had to bid farewell to club legend Artiz Aduriz during the break, with the veteran calling time on his career after requiring an urgent hip replacement, while Atleti are also without record signing Joao Felix.
Those absences hinder both sides in the final third, enhancing the likelihood of a scrappy and physical match, which plays to Atletico’s strengths, with the side from the capital available at
5/4* to collect all three points.
Diego Simeone’s men are unbeaten in their last five league matches, having lost only two of their previous 12, and Alvaro Morata (
7/4 to score at anytime) and Diego Costa should do enough between them to snatch maximum points in what could be a low-scoring affair.
Madrid Favourites Versus Lowly Eibar
Atletico’s city rivals Real Madrid will play their remaining fixtures at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium and the first side they will host at Castilla’s venue is lowly Eibar.
The break in the season came at a good time for both these sides – Real were losing ground in the title race with one win in their last four, although that did come against Barcelona, while Eibar have lost four of their last five matches in La Liga.
The visitors have, however, won only seven matches all season and are in danger of relegation, while Madrid are boosted by the return of influential players in the attacking third. Match Betting: Real
Belgium international Eden Hazard has been limited to 10 league appearances this term, but the break has allowed him to recover from injury along with Marco Asensio – who is
6/1 to score the first goal.
Los Blancos therefore look more dangerous going forward and its at the back that has been where they have been at their strongest this term, conceding a league-low 19 goals in their 27 matches.
Zinedine Zidane’s men have not lost a home contest in La Liga this season and with their reliable rearguard able to keep tabs on ageing forwards Charles and Sergi Enrich, they could be a good bet to win to nil (
Real Sociedad Take On Struggling Osasuna
Real Sociedad, meanwhile, take on an Osasuna side who have struggled on their travels with only three wins in 13 away matches, and the Basque side can come out on top (
The hosts have won four of their last five matches, while their opponents have suffered defeat in four of their last six and lost the reverse fixture 4-3 in December.
Sociedad have a range of goal-scoring talents in their squad including Alexander Isak, Mikel Oyarzabal, Willian Jose and Portu,which suggests they should have enough to break down the defensively focused visitors, who are
19/5 to cause an upset.
*All odds correct at time of writing