Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao – Santiago Bernabéu at 15:15 GMT+1 live at Premier Sports
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is confident his side will be a force again next season – after acknowledging the 2018-19 campaign is set to end quietly. The Frenchman was speaking after a 1-1 La Liga draw at Leganes on Monday, and stated he wants to see more from his players as he makes decisions on his squad.
“The first half was poor, and we improved after the break. But on the whole everyone needs to do better. I as a coach need to do better, and so do the players. We know we are not going to win anything this year, and that brings its own challenges.” Los Blancos have W3-D1-L1 in La Liga since Zidane’s return.
Coming into the weekend, the capital club are four points adrift of city rivals Atletico and nine points clear of Sevilla in fourth with six games to play. With little left to play for, even defender Nacho Fernandez admitted publicly that the side are finding motivation tough for their run-in to the league season.
The mood may have noticeably lifted around the current European champions but it’s true too that Los Blancos have rarely convinced this season, whether it be under Santiago Solari, Julen Lopetegui or Zidane himself. The in-house focus is on rebuilding and that should encourage Athletic Bilbao on Sunday afternoon.
Oppose a cushy home win
Madrid have W11-D1-L4 at the Bernabeu on La Liga duty with seven of those successes arriving by at least a two-goal margin. However, Los Blancos have laboured for the majority of those matches, only clinching comfort in the dying embers of encounters through flashes of individual brilliance.
The hosts have registered triumphs by more than two goals on only four outings this term, two of which arrived in September. So there’s plenty of evidence already suggesting that Athletic could keep this contest more competitive than the pre-match odds suggest. Therefore, Athletic +1.50 Asian handicap appeals at 1.75.
Eduardo Berizzo was sacked by Les Leones after a 13-game winless left the Basques entrenched in the relegation mix-up in December. Gaizka Garitano was given the gig following a spell with the youth set-up and immediately set about improving fortunes, guiding Athletic to within potential reach of the top-four.
Athletic have W10-D5-L3 under Garitano’s watch, and although all three losses arrived on the road, just one came via a margin of two or more goals. Indeed, the guests have conceded the fewest shorts from inside the penalty area this season and are third in the Expected Goals (xG) conceded from open play in La Liga.
Such stats emphasise Athletic’s ability to stay competitive and the Basques have a good goalscoring record at Real Madrid, highlighting their chances of keeping Los Blancos relatively quiet this weekend.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Athletic Bilbao +1.50 at 1.750
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
With Zinedine Zidane presence at Santiago Bernabéu, can they make a run against Los Leones on Sunday? Go settle your Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao Asian handicap fútbol bets through VOdds or Eastbridge’s Skype betting service!