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

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's La Liga clash between Athletic Bilbao and Real Valladolid, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Fresh from a surprise victory over title-chasing Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao prepare for a midweek clash with Real Valladolid in La Liga at the San Mames Stadium.

While the hosts marched to all three points in their most recent fixture, Valladolid's relegation troubles deepened after a 1-1 draw with Cadiz.


Match preview

Athletic Bilbao Marcelino pictured in January 2021© Reuters

The heartbreak of losing two Copa del Rey finals in the space of two weeks has been consigned to history for Athletic, who ended an eight-game winless run across all competitions with a 2-1 success over Atletico on Sunday night.

It was a tale of three headers as Alex Berenguer drew first blood in the eighth minute before Stefan Savic levelled for Atletico 13 minutes from time, but Marcelino's men won the day as Inigo Martinez headed in the winner on the 86-minute mark to claim Athletic's first victory of the month.

Athletic had played out five consecutive stalemates in La Liga before marching to victory over Atletico, and that spate of one-pointers has seriously hampered their aspirations of a top-seven finish as they occupy 10th spot in the table - eight points adrift of Villarreal in the final European spot with a game in hand.

Marcelino's men have the chance to leapfrog Granada and Celta Vigo into eighth with a second consecutive win this week, but they have failed to record any back-to-back wins in La Liga this season, so Wednesday would certainly be a good time to end that hoodoo.

The hosts do go into the game on a seven-game unbeaten run at the San Mames Stadium - during which time they have only failed to score once - so it would be a surprise not to see Marcelino's side pile more misery on relegation-threatened Valladolid.

Real Valladolid manager Sergio Gonzalez pictured on January 2020© Reuters

The visitors were finally pushed below the dreaded dotted line at the weekend, as their winless streak stretched to six matches with a 1-1 stalemate against Cadiz at the Estadio Nuevo Jose Zorrilla.

Oscar Plano's early strike - and his first goal of the month - ensured that Valladolid would take a 1-0 lead into the break, but all of their hard work was undone when Juan Cala scored on the 64-minute mark to rescue a point for Cadiz.

With only a solitary win to boast from their last 15 in La Liga, Valladolid are in serious trouble as they occupy 18th spot in the table following Elche's win over Levante, but they remain just a point adrift of safety in a relegation dogfight where none of the bottom nine teams is safe.

Sergio's underperforming side have also managed just two wins on the road in the entire league campaign, but they have managed to take a point from four of their last five away matches - which often tend to be low-scoring affairs - and they could immediately knock Elche back down to 18th should they win their game in hand this week.

Valladolid ought to take inspiration from their 2-1 win over Athletic earlier in the campaign, but they have not prevailed on their opponents' turf since the 2003-04 La Liga season, and the last two games at the San Mames Stadium have ended 1-1.

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W

Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W

Real Valladolid La Liga form:
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D



Team News

Athletic Bilbao's Raul Garcia celebrates scoring against Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Spanish Super Cup on January 14, 2021© Reuters

Athletic lost right-back Ander Capa to a knee issue halfway through their game with Atletico, so Oscar de Marcos should earn a start against Valladolid, although Inigo Lekue is another option for Marcelino.

The hosts continue to cope without a trio of regulars in Yuri Berchiche, Iker Muniain and Yeray Alvarez, so it would be a surprise to see Marcelino make many chances after an impressive showing against Atletico.

However, Oihan Sancet and Asier Villalibre failed to produce the goods up top, so Inaki Williams and Raul Garcia could both be rotated into the team, while the suspended Unai Vencedor should see his spot filled by Unai Lopez.

Meanwhile, Valladolid will be without Athletic loanee Kenan Kodro as he cannot face his parent club, but Shon Weissman and Sergi Guardiola were expected to start up front anyway.

Javi Sanchez and Pablo Hervias are reported to have trained normally on Monday and therefore should be available for the trip to Athletic, but Raul Carnero remains absent with a knee injury.

Jordi Masip lost his place in goal to Roberto for the draw with Cadiz and that could be the case again here, while Marcos Andre's spot in attack is in jeopardy as Guardiola pushes for a recall.

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; De Marcos, Martinez, Nunez, Balenziaga; Morcillo, Lopez, D. Garcia, Berenguer; Williams, R. Garcia

Real Valladolid possible starting lineup:
Roberto; Perez, Fernandez, Sanchez, Olaza; Orellana, Alcaraz, Mesa, Plano; Guardiola, Weissman


SM words green background

We say: Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Real Valladolid

Athletic and Valladolid both seem to have a penchant for draws, but a one-pointer here would not do much good for either side's ambitions of a European berth or survival.

The hosts should have the wind in their sails after sinking Atletico, and they have not given much away on home soil recently, so we are backing Marcelino's men to finally register consecutive victories in the league with a comfortable success.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


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How you voted: Athletic Bilbao vs Real Valladolid

Athletic Bilbao
76.8%
Draw
18.4%
Real Valladolid
4.8%
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Athletic Bilbao's Inigo Martinez scores against Atletico Madrid in La Liga on April 25, 2021
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Saturday's key events


TRIATHLON
· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

SWIMMING
· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

ATHLETICS
· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

SAILING
· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

TENNIS
· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

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