La Liga: Granada VS Athletic Bilbao

La Liga: Granada VS Athletic Bilbao

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09 May 2022
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Granada vs Athletic Bilbao

Whilst acknowledging a “weight had been lifted” off his side’s shoulders, Karanka has demanded more aggression against Athletic Bilbao to solidify their survival chances.

Granada

Granada made a real statement under new manager Aitor Karanka last time out, thrashing fellow relegation contenders Mallorca 6-2 to leapfrog them out of the relegation zone. Karanka remains undefeated as caretaker boss, despite his side being considered an underdog on all three occasions, and has now steered them to their longest La Liga period without defeat since Christmas. Whilst acknowledging a “weight had been lifted” off his side’s shoulders, Karanka has demanded more aggression against Athletic Bilbao to solidify their survival chances. Karanka inherited a seven-game La Liga winless home run which was extended to eight with their 1-1 draw against Celta Vigo.

 

Yet since then, Granada appear to have rediscovered their attacking power, helped by the return of winger Darwin Machis and veteran Jorge Molina. However, no clean sheet in six of Granada’s last seven La Liga games hints that a poor defensive display could be the thing that stands in the way of a fourth straight H2H home win.

Athletic Bilbao

Athletic manager Marcelino was satisfied with a 0-0 draw at home to Valencia, declaring his players “gave their all and outplayed their opponents” despite the result, and appears to remain confident of returning his club to UEFA football for the first time since 2017/18 despite Athletic sitting one point outside the all-important top seven spots. Marcelino knows a thing or two about defeating Granada though and should be pushing his players for another strong start after they scored four first-half goals from their last two La Liga away trips. The icing on the cake, in addition to a crucial victory, would be their first La Liga clean sheet on the road since January after shutting out both Valencia and Atletico Madrid at home in their two most recent matches.

 

Midfielder Luis Milla has scored after half-time in three of Granada’s last six La Liga home outings, twice from the penalty spot. In contrast, Raúl García opened the scoring for Athletic before the break-in their last two La Liga away trips. Both teams have scored in all but one of Granada’s last seven La Liga games.

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