Athletic Bilbao vs Real Betis: The Battle on the Mid Table
Both teams are on the mid table with the slight difference. Bilbao is precisely in the middle of the standings with thirty nine points while Betis is only separated by 4 points and currently at the mid lower table. The Basque side is still hoping for Europa league qualification spot next season, however tough it would be. Meanwhile for Joaquin and Co, they only attempt to do their best for the campaign in the last nine matches of La liga.
Gaizka Garitano’s men were unable to snatch three points while visiting Eibar in the midweek. They could only return home with one point in spite of taking the lead first by Raul Garcia’s penalty. Yet, Eibar managed to reply twice by Kike Garcia’s header and Fabian Orellana’s penalty. Fortunately, Asier Villalibre denied the host’s potential three points by scoring an equaliser.
Real Betis news
Real Betis had a similar result as their upcoming opponent on midweek. They were held in a 2-2 draw by Granada. Rubi’s men were one goal behind as Lucas Fernandez scored. The scoreline did not change till the 85th minute as Sergio Canales netted an equaliser by his penalty. They even could overturn the situation as Christian Tello found the back of the net three minutes later. Nevertheless, the former Valencia and Tottenham man, Roberto Soldado came as Granada’s saviour of the day by his strike at the stoppage time.
Missing players and probable lineups
Gaizka Garitano is likely to employ 4-2-3-1 again for this game. Asier Villalibre might be opted for the main striker instead of Inaki Williams, who has not been able to bag goals lately. He will gain support from Iker Muniain as the number ten, the former Atletico Madrid man, Raul Garcia and Ibai Gomez on both sides.
Athletic Bilbao: Unai Simon; Inigo Martinez, Yeray Alvarez, Andre Capa, Yuri ; Dani Garcia, Mikel Vesga ; Iker Muniain, Raul Garcia, Ibai Gomez; Asier Villalibre.
Meanwhile, Rubi might have to consider deploying 4-4-1-1 instead of 4-3-3 again which has not succeeded. The former formation proved to be effective as they stunned Real Madrid 2-1. Either Loren Moron or Borja Inglesias will be opted for the targetman accompanied by Nabil Fekir as the number ten. Such might be less attractive to watch but potential to steal points against the stronger side. However, several names are still ruled out for this game such as Willam Carvalho, Sidnei, Juanmi and the former Manchester City man, Javi Garcia.
Real Betis: Joel Robles; Marc Bartra, Aissa Mandi, Emerson, Alex Moreno; Andres Guadrado, Edgar Gonzalez, Carles Alena, Sergio Canales ; Nabil Fekir ; Loren Moron.
In the head-to-head meetings, Bilbao is still the dominant side with five wins and one draw, whereas Rubi’s men managed to win twice in the last eight encounters.
Both teams seem to rely on quite similar direct football approach. Considering their form lately, the match is expected to be even. However, if Betis could come up with a surprising tactic, like relying on Nabil Fekir and Sergio Canales to penetrate the defence by short pass or dribble more than long crosses and shots, the visitor might have a chance to snatch points here.
Where to watch
International TV channels:
FuboTV, BeIN Sports Connect(USA), DAZN (Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland), Eleven Sports 1 (Portugal), C More Play (Sweden) TV2 Play (Denmark) TV2 Sumo (Norway), BeIN Sports Connect (France), Sportsbox.ru (Russia), Digi Sports GO (Czech Rep, Slovakia)
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