Real Sociedad - Athletic Bilbao prediction and analysis
On Saturday evening, we will witness one of the most colorful derbies not only in Spain.
It's the Basque Derby between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao.
This edition of the clash can rightly be called a derby, as both teams are making a very strong 2022/23 season.
To a greater extent, this statement applies to the hosts, since before this round they occupy the 3rd position in the standings.
Sociedad is on a streak of 7 official matches without a loss, of which 4 consecutive wins "nil".
But Bilbao are also on a wonderful 8-2-0 streak, allowing just one goal in that span.
As many as 4 of their wins in this series have come in friendlies during the World Cup break.
The two teams look equal to me at this stage. That's why I'm betting on a draw in this prediction of mine.
Moreover, the previous 2 home games of Real Sociedad against Athletic Bilbao ended with the same result - 1-1.
And for stat lovers , I'll point out that Sociedad are on a streak of 22 consecutive matches in La Liga that have NOT had a 0-0 draw.
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Real Sociedad - statistics and info
A little surprising, but fully deserved, Real Sociedad is in the Top 3 of the Spanish La Liga standings.
The San Sebastian side recorded a 2-0 win away to Almeria last weekend.
It thus maintained its four-point lead over fourth-placed Real Betis.
And the pursuit of runaway leaders Barcelona and Real Madrid continues.
In this way, the Blue and Whites cemented their position as one of Spain's in-form clubs.
Having completed an unblemished two-month run with six consecutive victories in official matches.
Stopping Almeria's 4-match winning streak at home in La Liga has not gone unnoticed by Sociedad coach Imanol Alguasil.
Who praised the " brilliant defensive work " as part of his team's "very meritorious" performance.
Athletic Bilbao - statistics and info
Athletic Bilbao could only be two points behind Real Sociedad before this game.
If only they hadn't wasted their opportunities against Real Betis (0-0) and Osasuna (0-0).
Indeed, the Red and Whites could not do what Sociedad did on New Year's Eve.
Namely – to beat Osasuna at home.
But an experienced coach like Athletic's manager Ernesto Valverde can draw positives from these goalless draws.
This mostly translates into an improvement in defense.
And in the absence of the injured defender Inigo Martinez , who has not played since the World Cup.
And Valverde candidly admitted he doesn't "know what's going to happen" about Martinez's potential move to Barca for 2023/24.
Bilbao's defense will need to improve even more if they want to come out of this away game unscathed.
As well as the subsequent home match against champions Real Madrid in the next round.
Squads and injured footballers
Lineup: Remiro; Elustondo, Zubeldia, Le Norman, Rico; Mendes, Zubimendi, Merino; D. Silva; Sorlot, Oyarzabal
Injured: Sadik, Merkelanz, Sola
Lineup: Simon; De Marcos, Vivian, Alvarez, Bersiche; D. Garcia, Saraga; I. Williams, Sunset, N. Williams; Guruzetta
Injured: Martinez (questionable)
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