Real Madrid vs Athletic Club: Match preview

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Real Madrid are all set to kick off their La Liga 2023-24 campaign as they face Athletic Club this Saturday night. After having a mixed preseason in the USA, the club will be looking to start the season strongly to reclaim the La Liga title that they lost to Barcelona last time.

Match Details:

  • Date: Saturday, 12th August 2023
  • Competition: La Liga
  • Time: 21:30 CET
  • Venue: San Mames, Bilbao, Spain

Match Preview:

Real Madrid are returning to competitive action again, as they face Athletic Bilbao in the first match of the 2023-24 season. The team is coming into the match after two losses in the preseason tour of the USA, one against their traditional rivals, FC Barcelona, and the other against Juventus.

However, Real Madrid is a different beast in competitive games, and the match against Bilbao will see the Merengues put all their effort into ensuring they get a victorious start to their La Liga campaign.

Having lost out on both the UEFA Champions League and La Liga, Ancelotti would also be looking to avoid pressure early in the season by getting a victory against Bilbao.

Still, getting a victory at San Mames is no child’s play, and Bilbao will also come into this match with all the passion and commitment that they usually show against Real Madrid. Ernesto Valverde is a very capable coach who can cause Real Madrid significant problems.

While the Royal Whites will be going into the match with much excitement and courage, the omens have not been good for Real Madrid going into this match.

They lost Thibaut Courtois to an ACL injury, which is expected to keep the Belgian out for almost the entire season ahead. He will join other players like Arda Guler, Ferland Mendy, and Dani Ceballos on the sidelines.

Thus, Andriy Lunin is expected to start the match against Bilbao, as Madrid are unlikely to get a Courtois replacement by this time. As Ferland Mendy is also still out, Ancelotti can go with a defensive line of Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, and Garcia.

The midfield is the area where things get complicated, as there is a lot of competition for the three or four spots in the middle of the pitch. However, Ancelotti is reported to go with youth in this match, and Tchouameni can start as the lone pivot. Camavinga, Valverde, and Bellingham will most likely join him. Kroos and Modric might come later if Ancelotti feels the need.

Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo Goes will make up the offensive line for this match, but they will also be supported by Bellingham, who will be playing in an advanced midfield position. The new signing, Joselu, can also make a cameo as a substitute later in the match if Ancelotti needs a goal threat.

Athletic Bilbao, meanwhile, will be vulnerable defensively as their veteran defender, Inigo Martinez, has left for Barcelona, while Yeray Alvarez is also out injured. Thus, Aitor Paredes and Dani Vivian are expected to make their central defensive duo. Ernesto Valverde will be looking to attack the Madrid defense with his speedy duo of Nico and Inaki Williams.

Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari, a dedicated sports journalist and Real Madrid fan, has written over 2000 articles for Barca News Network and Madrid Voice. With a degree in Political Science and English Literature from Forman Christian College, he provides expert analyses and comprehensive La Liga coverage.

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