La Liga Betting: Expect goals when Bilbao host Real Madrid



It's the last time Real Madrid will play at San Mamés, with the stadium due to be knocked down in the summer. For one Madridista it is particularly meaningful: Iker Casillas made his debut at the ground, not that José Mourinho will show any sign of compassion for his captain as Diego López is expected to maintain the number one slot.

Markel Susaeta is aware this campaign hasn't been good enough for Los Leones: "San Mamés deserves something more," remarked the winger; "what better time to bring joy to the fans, to San Mamés and to ourselves."

I'm sure Mourinho would be able to sympathise with his opposite number Marcelo Bielsa, as there are similarities between the two men and their predicaments. Both teams played exceptional football at times last season, and have performed below the standard expected of them this time. The two coaches have had a number of public and private spats with personnel and their demanding attitudes have weighed heavy on their players. Perhaps the most striking comparison is that they are expected to depart this summer.

Team news

Athletic have a host of players unavailable for the match. Aymeric Laporte, Óscar De Marcos, Aritz Aduriz and Carlos Gurpegi are all suspended. Andoni Iraola will face a late fitness test, with Jonás Ramalho on standby should the right-back fail it. Ostracised Fernando Llorente will make just his third start of the season, and his second in a week.

Álvaro Arbeloa, Kaká, Mesut Özil and Michael Essien have all been omitted from the Real squad to travel to the Basque country. Sergio Ramos will likely be at right-back, with Luka Modrić occupying the space behind Karim Benzema up front. There are conflicting reports on whether Cristiano Ronaldo will start or not.

Form

The Basques have won back-to-back matches at home for the first time this seaso after 1-0 wins over Valencia and Granada. It's a rewarding 22.00 for an unlikely hat-trick.

Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder did their best to haunt their former mentor, but it was his current protege that naturally shone the brightest. Ronaldo's brace against Galatasaray ensured the attempted resurgence in Istanbul was futile. Los Blancos have not won in their previous two away matches, and have scored and conceded in the last six on their travels. Both teams to score is at 1.60.

Recent head-to-head

In the last two games between these sides at San Mamés, the away side has triumphed 3-0. It's 12.50 for another repeat scoreline.

Goalscorer betting

Both sides face the prospect of starting the match without their leading goalscorers, though there are plenty of players that are not shy in front of goal. Juventus-bound Llorente has something to prove and is at 9.75 for the opener. Iker Muniain and Ander Herrera are 6.50 and 10.50 respectively to score within the 90 minutes. Benzema should be fresh to attack the opponents' disjointed back four; he is 4.80 to score first.

Verdict

Both teams are missing key players, though there are still a number of figures that will be keen to impress. In the battle of the teams that have knocked Manchester United out of European competition in consecutive years, the draw looks best value at 4.65.

Bonus bet

With a makeshift back line from Athletic - who have the third worst defence in La Liga - combined with Madrid's rotation, expect some goals at 'the cathedral'. Over 4.5 goals does seem ambitious, but might pay off at 3.90.

Score prediction: Athletic Bilbao 2-2 Real Madrid (15.00)