MX23RW : Saturday, June 25 00:48:46| >> :600:2908575:2908575:
[monks data]
Sep 12, 2020 at 5.30pm UK at Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes
2 - 0
Athletic Bilbao
Herrera (49'), Milla (53')
Herrera (10'), Sanchez (45'), Gonalons (90+2')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Morcillo (15'), Martinez (52'), Lopez (72'), Alvarez (84')

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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Granada and Athletic Bilbao, including team news and predicted lineups.

Granada and Athletic Bilbao will open their respective 2020-21 La Liga campaigns on Saturday evening with the pair due to lock horns at at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes.

Granada finished seventh in Spain's top flight last term and are in Europa League qualifying action next week, while Athletic ended last season in 11th spot in the table.

Match preview

Granada manager Diego Martinez pictured in February 2020© Reuters

Sixteen wins, eight draws and 14 defeats - that is how Granada performed in Spain's top flight last term, with a total of 56 points from 38 matches seeing them finish seventh, ensuring that they would be present in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

It was a terrific season for a club that had been promoted the season before after two campaigns in the Segunda Division, while it was their highest finish at this level of football since 1973-74.

Diego Martinez's side have played three friendlies since ending their 2019-20 La Liga campaign with a 4-0 victory over Athletic on July 17, drawing with Malaga and losing to Real Valladolid and Real Betis.

El Grana have been relatively busy during this summer's transfer window, bringing in the likes of Luis Milla, Maxime Gonalons, Alberto Soro and Dimitri Foulquier.

The fact that Granada face a trip to Albania in the Europa League in the middle of their first two league matches of the season is not ideal, but Martinez will be desperate for his side to start the campaign in a positive fashion.

Athletic Bilbao's Ander Capa in action with Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann on August 16, 2019© Reuters

Athletic, meanwhile, have also played three friendlies since finishing their 2019-20 La Liga campaign with a 4-0 loss at Granada on July 17. Indeed, they lost 3-1 to Logrones on August 29 before drawing with Real Oviedo and Eibar earlier this month.

There is no getting away from the fact that it was a desperately disappointing finish to the season for the Basque outfit, who lost four of their last five league outings to drop down the table.

Gaizka Garitano's side ultimately finished 11th, meaning that they will not be present in any form of European competition during the coming season.

Interestingly, Athletic will also have a 14-day gap between their first two league games of the season, opening against Granada on September 12 before playing their second match at Eibar on September 26.

Restricted to signing Basque-only players, it has been a very quiet transfer window the club, meaning that there will be a familiar look to the starting XI in the coming season.

Granada pre-season: LDL

Athletic Bilbao pre-season form: WLL

Team News

Barcelona's Nelson Semedo in action with Granada's Darwin Machis in La Liga on September 21, 2019© Reuters

There are expected to be some debutants in the Granada XI on Saturday night, with Milla and Gonalons both pushing for spots in midfield, while Kenedy has arrived on loan from Chelsea and should be involved.

Carlos Fernandez scored 14 times for the club during a loan spell last season but has since returned to parent club Sevilla, meaning that Roberto Soldado could be given the nod through the middle.

Jorge Molina has arrived on a free transfer from Getafe, though, and the 38-year-old, who scored 77 times in 212 outings for his previous club, is an option to feature in an attacking position.

Soro could also feature for the hosts, having arrived from Real Madrid this summer, while Darwin Machis, who scored seven times and registered nine assists in all competitions last term, should start.

As for Athletic, there are not expected to be many surprises in the away side's lineup, with Inaki Williams, Iker Muniain and Raul Garcia again likely to feature in an attacking position.

Oihan Sancet enjoyed his first season at senior level in 2019-20 and could be handed a start in this game, while Mikel Vesga is expected to be partnered by Unai Lopez in the middle of the park.

Yuri Berchiche had emerged as a doubt for the start of the season through injury, but the defender has recently returned to training and should be available for Saturday's contest.

Granada possible starting lineup:
Rui Siva; Duarte, Sanchez, Diaz; Foulquier, Milla, Gonalons, Puertas; Machis, Soldado, Soro

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Yuri, Yeray, Nunez, De Marcos; Vesga, Lopez; Muniain, Sancet, Williams; R Garcia

SM words green background

We say: Granada 2-1 Athletic Bilbao

Granada were excellent when the two sides locked horns at the end of last season, and we are finding it difficult to back against Martinez's side once again. Athletic have not been able to freshen their squad this summer, but Granada are likely to have some new faces on show, and we fancy the hosts to triumph.

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8Athletic Bilbao381413114336755
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