Basque derby as Athletic Bilbao meet Real Sociedad in La Liga
There is an old Basque proverb: ‘Burdina berotan jo behar da’. The iron must be hammered when it’s hot, derived from the region’s 14th century iron trade.
When Athletic Bilbao meet Basque neighbours Real Sociedad, they will be wary of the fact that they are in a hot streak, taking six points from six, manoeuvring into position to challenge for a Europa League spot, while David Moyes’ side haven’t won in five matches. The iron is indeed hot.
The hosts are odds-on with Coral at 4/6 to take seal victory and can take confidence from their last home game, which finished in a 4-0 victory over Getafe.
Striker Aritz Aduriz at the age of 34, has been outstanding for Bilbao this term, scoring 22 goals in 43 appearances, and having struck twice against Getafe, is 4/1 to score two or more again.
In the reverse earlier in the campaign, Oscar De Marcos grabbed the equaliser and is 10/3 to net again anytime. Sociedad striker Carlos Vela, who scored the opener, meanwhile, is 15/2 to repeat that at the San Mames.
Last season, the result match ended in a 1-1 draw, with Iker Muniain and Imanol Agirretxe getting the goals which split the two sides, and, although the former is out for the next six months with injury, the latter is 9/4 to strike anytime.
Moyes, though, will be hoping to finish the season on a high, to prove to potential summer recruits that his side can be competitive, after talking up the club’s chances of re-signing Asier Illarramendi.
“We want to get good players here,” Moyes stated, whose side are 4/1 to beat Bilbao. “Illarramendi is a very good player and the president, myself and [sporting director] Loren, we want to improve the standard, we want to get good players here, we want more competition for the team.
“We have to make sure we can compete with the top six or seven teams in Spain. We want it quickly. We’re going to have to make sure we add to the squad and improve it with good players. And the player you mentioned (Illarramendi) is certainly a good player.”