Athletic Club vs Real Sociedad predictions and match preview for Sunday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for expert analysis, the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups ahead of the big Basque derby.
|Sunday 20th February 2022
|21:00 (local time)
Athletic Club vs Real Sociedad Preview
It’s Basque derby time in Bilbao this Sunday as we look forward to one of the biggest games on the Spanish football calendar. While this “friendly” derby is a unique occasion in terms of the way the two sets of supporters largely get on, make no mistake that Athletic Club are still wounded from that Copa del Rey Final defeat last year against La Real and they would dearly love a small dose of revenge here.
Iker Muniain’s last free-kick, which Alex Remiro certainly should have saved, gave Athletic a point in the reverse fixture earlier this term. The 29 year old has been vital for Athletic this season and is surely in with a shot of a Spain call-up in this World Cup year. He’ll be hoping to show he is the man for the big occasion again here but he was powerless to stop Athletic slipping to defeat at Mallorca on Monday night.
A late goal sealed a 3-2 win for the Balearic side in what was one of Athletic’s worst showings of the season. That’s not exactly the ideal way to gear up for a derby but they have been showing up in the big games at home with both Barcelona and Real Madrid defeated at San Mames since the turn of the year in the Copa del Rey. They’ll need another big performance here against what feels like a Real Sociedad side which may have turned a corner.
La Real’s Champions League dreams appeared to be going up in smoke towards the end of 2021 when they were struggling badly for goals and dropping points all over the place. Those problems haven’t completely gone away, but they come into this game unbeaten in 5 league games, keeping a clean sheet in all of their last 4 which suggests they have at the very least addressed a few issues at the back.
Real Sociedad have the slight disadvantage of having been involved in European action on Thursday night and in a difficult game away to German side RB Leipzig. They got a good result, in the shape of a 2-2 draw, but it was a real struggle at times with Leipzig enjoying 70% of the possession and having 20 attempts on goal to La Real’s 3. We simply aren’t used to seeing Imanol’s side on the backfoot to that extent and you do have to wonder how much that will have taken out of them.
Head to Head
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 1 Athletic Win, 3 Real Sociedad Wins, 2 Draws.
- The last 2 meetings were both in Donostia and both ended 1-1.
- Real Sociedad are unbeaten in 5 derby clashes overall against Athletic.
- They haven’t suffered defeat against Athletic since a 2-0 defeat in Bilbao in 2019.
Iñigo Martínez returns from a ban for Athletic to face his old club. Oier Zarraga is suspended.
Adnan Januzaj and Diego Rico are injured for La Real. Alexander Isak is a major doubt.
Athletic Club vs Real Sociedad Predictions
Score Prediction: Athletic Club 1-0 Real Sociedad
Being fresh and prepared is a big advantage in a high intensity derby such as this and Real Sociedad’s difficult evening in Germany on Thursday could tilt this in Athletic’s favour. This is a meeting of 2 of the best 4 defences in LaLiga so we shouldn’t expect many goals, but the hosts may just nick it over the course of the 90 minutes to seal Basque pride on the night.
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