Granada CF at Athletic Bilbao
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 3:00 PM (San Mames)
Granada head to San Mames on Wednesday for the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final clash with Athletic Bilbao. Bilbao are looking to reach their first final since 2014/15, while Granada’s sole
final appearance came all the way back in 1958/59.
Bilbao began their Copa del Rey campaign comfortable victories over Intercity and Sestao in the first two rounds. However, Bilbao were then forced into consecutive penalty shootouts by second-tier sides Elche and Tenerife respectively. After eventually coming through the Round of 16, the Basque club set up a quarter-final clash with Barcelona. Bilbao beat the Catalan giants 1-0 to book their spot in the last four.
The Lions are on a poor run in the league which has seen them fail to win any of their previous five La Liga games. Three straight draws have been followed up by consecutive draws, leaving Bilbao ninth in the table. Bilbao were beaten by Getafe before suffering a disappointing defeat to rivals Real Sociedad last time out. It’s worth mentioning that both teams have scored in four of Bilbao’s previous five league games.
Granada scraped past L’Hospitalet 3-2 in the first round before snatching another slender win over Tamaraceite 1-0 in round two. Diego Martinez’s side then beat Badalona 3-1 in the Round of 32 before advancing into the quarter-finals with a 3-2 win against Badajoz. Roberto Soldado scored twice against his former club as Granada beat Valencia 2-1 to reach the last four. Both teams have scored in four of Granada’s five Copa del Rey games this season.
After a promising start to the season, Granada have dropped into mid-table following a run of poor results. Martinez’s side have lost three of their last five La Liga games and have now lost 11 of their 23 league games this term. However, Granada are 12 points clear of the bottom three and only six points off the top six. It’s been an inconsistent season for Granada up to this point.
Prediction and Pick
It’s difficult to pick a winner for this matchup. Bilbao are the favorites at 1.73, while the Granada win is at 5.00. But both sides have been pretty unpredictable in recent weeks, so I’m seriously tempted by the sky-high price for both teams to score. Given the recent respective goalscoring records of the two teams, 2.25 seems like an excellent price.