La Liga champions Atletico Madrid continue their title defence when they welcome Athletic Bilbao to the capital on Saturday at 3.15pm (UK time).
Diego Simeone’s men currently sit third in the table after four matches, winning three games by a margin of just one goal, including last week’s 99th-minute Thomas Lemar winner against Espanyol, while Athletic Bilbao have followed in a similar unbeaten fashion to sit fifth.
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Where to watch Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao on TV:
- UK: LaLigaTV
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: Atletico Madrid 2-0 Athletic Bilbao
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Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Following a chaotic summer in the capital, with Antoine Griezmann returning from Barcelona with his tail between his legs and ultimate utility man Saul leaving for Chelsea, Diego Simeone has produced early wonders this season to have Atleti unbeaten after four matches and firmly in the chase for title retention. Marginal wins over Celta, Elche and Espanyol, as well as a draw with Villarreal, has just about consolidated their place in the top four, and they will want to keep it that way on Saturday.
Athletic Bilbao have followed a similar pattern as, incredibly, one of seven teams still unbeaten in La Liga this season. The Basque club drew their opening two matches, including a 1-1 stalemate with Barcelona, but are currently on a tear of two straight wins, putting both Celta and Mallorca to the sword, which has just seen Marcelino’s men inch towards the division’s upper slopes, and they currently remain only two points behind Atleti.
- Atletico Madrid (vs Espanyol): Oblak; Savic, Felipe, Hermoso; Trippier, Llorente, Koke, Carrasco; Correa, Griezmann, Suarez.
- Athletic Bilbao (vs Mallorca): Simon; Lukue, Vivian, Martinez, Balenziaga; Berenguer, Vencedor, D Garica, Muniain; R Garcia, Williams.
Last weekend’s match winner Thomas Lemar has been ruled out for the next 10 days after suffering a muscular injury in Atletico’s goalless draw with Porto in midweek. The visitors will be without Yuri Berchiche and Peru Nolaskoain, while Inigo Cordoba, Oscar De Marcos, Yeray Alvarez and Oihan Sancet are doubts.
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Player to watch: Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
There is only one opponent Antoine Griezmann has netted double digits against during his career, and he faces them on Saturday. Across 26 outings in all competitions against Athletic Bilbao, the mercurial Frenchman has bagged 12 goals, including a hat-trick for Atletico Madrid in the 2014/15 season at San Mames.
In fact, in La Liga alone, he has notched nine goals against the club, more than any other opponent in the division alongside Valencia, while he has also been involved in seven goals in 11 home league appearances against them (four goals and three assists). To say that Griezmann is Bilbao’s kryptonite would be an understatement.
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