Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao Predictions

Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao predictions for this Copa del Rey meeting. On Wednesday, Atletico Madrid is set to host Athletic Bilbao at the Civitas Metropolitano for the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals. Read on for our free match preview and betting tips

Atletico Madrid
Athletic Bilbao

Copa del Rey | Semi-Finals | 1st Leg: – Feb 7, 2024 at 8.30pm UK at Estadio Civitas Metropolitano

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Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao Predictions

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Reason for tip: Brest's form and defensive strength, against Strasbourg's scoring ability but defensive issues, suggest a likely narrow win for Brest, given their away consistency.

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Reason for tip: Brest's balanced attack and Strasbourg's defensive weaknesses suggest a 1-3 victory for Brest, exploiting gaps while keeping defensive solidity.

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Clash of Ambitions: Saarbrucken’s Cup Dream Against Gladbach’s Quest for Redemption

Key Stats
– Atletico Madrid have transformed the Metropolitano into a stronghold, boasting an unbeaten record that spans over a year in competitive fixtures.
– Athletic Bilbao has demonstrated their capability to overcome adversity, rallying from a deficit to secure a memorable victory against Barcelona in the quarter-finals.
– The head-to-head record at the Metropolitano favours Atletico, with Bilbao seeking to reverse their fortunes and script a new chapter in their storied rivalry.

In the highly anticipated first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals, Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao are set to clash at the Civitas Metropolitano, a venue that has become a fortress for the hosts. This encounter promises not just a battle on the pitch but a clash of tactical wits between Diego Simeone and Ernesto Valverde, two of Spain’s most respected footballing minds.

Atletico Madrid: A Blend of Grit and Grace

Atletico Madrid, under the stewardship of Diego Simeone, have evolved into a team renowned for their defensive solidity and opportunistic attacking play. Unbeaten in six competitive fixtures, Atletico’s resilience was on full display in their recent 1-1 draw against Real Madrid, where Marcos Llorente’s late header salvaged a crucial point. Their journey to the semi-finals has been relatively straightforward, thanks to victories over Lugo and a significant triumph against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals. With an impressive record of not tasting defeat at the Metropolitano since January 2023, Atletico stands as formidable opponents in their own backyard.

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The expected lineup showcases a blend of experience and dynamism, with Oblak in goal, flanked by a back three of Hermoso, Witsel, and Reinildo, providing a mix of defensive rigour and ball-playing ability. The midfield and attack, featuring talents like De Paul, Koke, and the striking partnership of Griezmann and Morata, underscore Atletico’s balanced approach, capable of both containing opponents and striking with precision.

Athletic Bilbao: The Resurgence under Valverde

Athletic Bilbao’s journey to the semi-finals has been a testament to their fighting spirit and tactical flexibility. Having dispatched five teams, including a memorable victory over Barcelona, Bilbao’s campaign has been both challenging and inspiring. Their recent 4-0 thrashing of Mallorca in La Liga is indicative of a team hitting their stride at the right moment. Despite not having won the Copa del Rey since 1984, Bilbao’s consistent presence in the latter stages of the competition in recent years speaks volumes of their pedigree and ambition.

Bilbao’s probable starting XI, featuring Agirrezabala in goal, a solid defence led by Vivian and Paredes, and the creative force of I. Williams and Sancet, presents a well-rounded team. The inclusion of Guruzeta up front, who has been in fine form, adds potency to their attack, suggesting a team capable of causing problems for any defence.

Tactical Battle: Where the Game Will Be Won

The midfield duel between Atletico’s De Paul and Koke against Bilbao’s Ruiz de Galaretta and Prados Diaz could very well dictate the pace and control of the game. Both teams’ ability to transition from defence to attack efficiently will be crucial, with Atletico relying on their compact defensive setup to launch counter-attacks, while Bilbao will look to exploit any spaces with the pace of Williams and the guile of Sancet.

Strengths, Weaknesses, and Areas for Improvement

Atletico’s major strength lies in their defensive organisation and the ability to grind out results. However, their sometimes overly cautious approach can hinder their offensive output, a facet Simeone could look to improve by encouraging more forward thrusts from his midfielders. Bilbao, on the other hand, boasts a balanced team with a potent attack but must be wary of their defensive transitions, which could be exploited by Atletico’s counter-attacking prowess.

Criticism can be levied at Simeone for his reluctance to adopt a more expansive game plan, especially in matches where Atletico are expected to dominate possession and create opportunities. Valverde’s challenge will be to ensure his team does not become too stretched while seeking to impose their game, particularly against a side as tactically disciplined as Atletico.

Predictions and Rationale

  1. Market Prediction: Under 2.5 Goals Given both teams’ defensive strengths and the cautious approach typically adopted in the first legs of knockout ties, a low-scoring affair seems probable. Atletico’s solid defensive record at home, coupled with Bilbao’s structured play, supports the expectation of few goals being scored.
  2. Correct Score Prediction: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Athletic Bilbao Atletico’s formidable record at the Metropolitano and their knack for securing narrow victories in crucial matches make a 1-0 win a logical prediction. This scoreline reflects both teams’ recent form and the tactical nature expected of the clash.
  3. Goalscorer Prediction: Álvaro Morata As Atletico’s leading scorer, Morata’s ability to find space in tight defences and his aerial threat make him a prime candidate to be the match’s lone goalscorer, especially considering Bilbao’s challenges in containing versatile forwards.
  4. Team to Score First: Atletico Madrid Atletico’s propensity to start strongly in high-stakes matches, combined with their tactical setup designed to seize early opportunities, positions them as likely to open the scoring. Their disciplined approach ensures they can capitalise on any lapses from Bilbao while maintaining defensive solidity.

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Reason for tip: Brest's form and defensive strength, against Strasbourg's scoring ability but defensive issues, suggest a likely narrow win for Brest, given their away consistency.

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£10 Returns £210

Reason for tip: Brest's balanced attack and Strasbourg's defensive weaknesses suggest a 1-3 victory for Brest, exploiting gaps while keeping defensive solidity.

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Gerard Gabasa
Gerard Gabasa is our go-to football expert for all things Spanish. His passion for the game is evident in every analysis he offers. Having played professionally with Málaga's youth team, Gerard blends firsthand experience with deep insights. While he didn't ascend to the senior ranks, this stint enriched his understanding of the game's nuances. Over the years, Gerard has crafted in-depth match analyses and player evaluations that showcase his profound knowledge. With Gerard, expect a seasoned perspective on Spanish football every time.