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Sep 18, 2021 at 3.15pm UK
AtleticoAtletico Madrid
Athletic BilbaoAthletic Bilbao

Kondogbia (36'), Felix (78'), Savic (79'), Cunha (90'), Gimenez (90+7')
Felix (78')

Garcia (30'), Williams Arthuer (82')

Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Atletico Madrid will be looking to continue their strong start to the 2021-22 La Liga campaign when they take on Athletic Bilbao at Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday afternoon.

Diego Simeone's side have picked up 10 points from their opening four matches to sit third in the table, while Athletic occupy fifth, having collected eight points from their first four fixtures.

Match preview

Atletico opened their 2021-22 La Liga campaign with two narrow victories, recording a 2-1 success at Celta Vigo on August 15 before running out 1-0 winners over Elche in their first home match of the campaign.

Simeone's team were held to a 2-2 draw by Villarreal before the international break but managed to return to winning ways in the league last weekend, recording a 2-1 victory over Espanyol, with Yannick Carrasco and Thomas Lemar - in the ninth minute of added time - securing a huge three points.

Atletico were also in Champions League action on Wednesday night, opening their group-stage campaign with a goalless draw at home to Porto.

The capital giants now have three straight league matches against Athletic, Getafe and Alaves before travelling to San Siro at the end of September to take on AC Milan in their second Group B fixture.

As mentioned, a total of 10 points from four matches has left the reigning Spanish champions in third position in the table, and they will be confident of launching another strong title challenge, with Barcelona and Real Madrid both having their issues off the field over the summer.

Athletic, meanwhile, have also made an encouraging start to the new season, collecting eight points from their opening four fixtures, which has left them in fifth position heading into the next set of fixtures.

The Basque outfit opened their 2021-22 campaign with back-to-back draws against Elche and Barcelona before recording a 2-0 victory over Celta Vigo in their last game before the international break.

Marcelino's side made it back-to-back league successes on September 11, as second-half goals from Dani Vivian and Inaki Williams saw them record a 2-0 victory over Mallorca at San Mames, meaning that confidence should be flowing in the camp ahead of the trip to Wanda Metropolitano.

Athletic won 11, drew 13 and lost 14 of their 38 league matches last season to finish in 10th position, some 15 points behind the top six, and they will be looking to close that gap this term.

The Basque side recorded a 2-1 win over Atletico when the two teams last locked horns in April, but Athletic have not beaten Saturday's opponents in the league away from home since January 2011.

Atletico Madrid La Liga form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Atletico Madrid form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W

Team News

Atletico's squad is in excellent shape at the moment in terms of absentees, with Simeone, as it stands, having a fully-fit squad to choose from on Saturday afternoon.

Lemar had to be substituted in the first half of the Champions League clash with Porto, though, and it seems likely that the Frenchman will miss out, so Rodrigo de Paul is in line to start.

There are expected to be changes from the side that started against Porto in the Champions League, with Antoine Griezmann and Kieran Trippier also in line to feature in the first XI.

Luis Suarez should retain his spot in the final third of the field, although Angel Correa is also an option for Simeone, who will shuffle his pack from Wednesday's European contest.

As for Athletic, Oihan Sancet, Yeray Alvarez, Aitor Paredes, Peru Nolaskoain and Yuri Berchiche will all miss this weekend's clash through injury.

Head coach Marcelino will have been pleased with his team's performance against Mallorca last time out, so it would not be a surprise to see the same starting XI sent onto the field.

Marcelino could consider bringing in an extra midfielder, but it will be difficult for the Spaniard to drop either Iker Muniain or Williams, while Raul Garcia will be desperate to take on his former club.

Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Gimenez, Felipe, Hermoso; Koke; Trippier, Llorente, De Paul, Carrasco; Griezmann, Suarez

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Lekue, Vivian, Martinez, Balenziaga; Berenguer, Vencedor, D Garcia, Muniain; Williams, R Garcia

We say: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Athletic Bilbao

This is a very difficult match for Atletico, with Athletic starting the campaign in impressive fashion. Simeone's side found it tough to break Porto down in the Champions League, but we are expecting the Spanish champions to pick up all three points courtesy of a narrow win in the capital.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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4Atletico MadridAtletico9531138518
5Real Betis105321511418
7Athletic Bilbao10451106417
8Rayo Vallecano105141712516
14Celta Vigo103161012-210
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