MX23RW : Saturday, April 17 16:48:11| >> :120:8301:8301:
Feb 7, 2021 at 3.15pm UK at San Mames
Athletic BilbaoAthletic Bilbao
1-1
ValenciaValencia
Guillamon (43' og.)
Berenguer (51'), Martinez (74')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Paulista (66')
Soler (79')

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

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

Valencia will be bidding to make it back-to-back victories in Spain's top flight for the first time this season when they travel to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday afternoon.

Los Che, who are currently 14th in the table, will enter this weekend's match off the back of a 1-0 win over Elche last weekend, while Athletic booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey on Thursday night courtesy of a penalty-shootout victory over fellow top-flight club Real Betis.


Match preview

Athletic Bilbao celebrate beating Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final on January 17, 2021© Reuters

Athletic will play the final of the 2020 Copa del Rey against Real Sociedad at the start of April, but they are also on course to make the final of the 2021 competition, having booked their spot in the semi-finals with a win over Betis on Thursday night.

Raul Garcia scored a 94th-minute leveller for Marcelino's side in Seville, and the visitors went on to triumph on penalties, joining Sevilla, Levante and Barcelona in the final four of the tournament.

Athletic's league form has been slightly disappointing, though, winning just two of their last six and losing three of their last five, including a 2-1 defeat away to Barca last weekend.

A total of 24 points from 20 matches has left the Basque side in 11th position in the table, just five points clear of the relegation zone, and they will certainly be wary of dropping down the division.

The eight-time Spanish champions picked up a point in the reverse match at Mestalla earlier this season but suffered a 1-0 defeat when Valencia visited San Mames for the corresponding fixture last term.

Valencia's Carlos Soler celebrates scoring against Real Madrid in La Liga on November 8, 2020© Reuters

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a disappointing season for Valencia, who have only picked up 23 points from their 21 matches to sit down in 14th position in Spain's top flight.

Champions in 2003-04, Los Che finished ninth last season, and they would certainly take that position this term, having struggled to show any form of consistency in 2020-21.

Javi Gracia's side have no Copa del Rey or European football between now and the end of the campaign, though, meaning that they can put their full focus on avoiding being pulled into the bottom three.

Valencia lost their last away game at Atletico Madrid on January 24 but will enter this weekend's contest off the back of a positive result, beating Elche 1-0 courtesy of a first-half effort from Daniel Wass, while they have only been beaten in one of their last five matches in Spain's top flight.

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form: DLWLWL
Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions): WWWWLW

Valencia La Liga form: LDWDLW
Valencia form (all competitions): WWDLLW


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 will again be unable to call upon either Inigo Vicente or Peru Nolaskoain this weekend, while Raul Garcia is absent for the home side through suspension.

Inaki Williams started on the bench against Betis in the Copa del Rey but should be back in the side for this match, while Asier Villalibre is likely to retain his position in the final third of the field.

Ander Capa should replace Inigo Lekue at right-back from Thursday's clash, while there is also expected to be a change in the middle of the park with Unai Vencedor coming in for Mikel Vesga.

As for Valencia, Kevin Gameiro and Jasper Cillessen are still unavailable, but the visitors are otherwise in good shape for Sunday's contest at San Mames.

Gracia could decide to select the same XI that took to the field against Elche last time out, with Manu Vallejo joining Maxi Gomez in the final third of the field.

Yunus Musah and Lee Kang-in are both pushing for starts, but Thierry Correia's presence at right-back means that Wass, who was on the scoresheet against Elche, should retain his spot in midfield.

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Capa, Yeray, Martinez, Berchiche; De Marcos, Vencedor, D Garcia, Berenguer; Villalibre, Williams

Valencia possible starting lineup:
Domenech; Correia, Gabriel, Guillamon, Gaya; Wass, Racic, Soler, Guedes; Gomez, Vallejo


SM words green background

We say: Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Valencia

Valencia have proven difficult to beat in the league since the start of 2021, while Athletic will enter the match off the back of an energy-zapping clash with Betis on Thursday. A draw would not be the worst result in the world for either side, and we are tipping a 1-1 in this contest.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw 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/Draw:data


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Atletico MadridAtletico30207352203267
2Real Madrid30206453242966
3Barcelona30205569264365
4Sevilla30194744242061
5Real Sociedad301211747311647
6Real Betis30145114043-347
7Villarreal301113643331046
8Granada30116133650-1439
9Levante30911103739-238
10Celta Vigo30910114148-737
11Athletic Bilbao30910113933637
12CadizCadiz3098132745-1835
13Valencia30810123742-534
14Osasuna30810122536-1134
15Getafe3079142234-1230
16Huesca30512133145-1427
17Real Valladolid30512132741-1427
18ElcheElche30511142746-1926
19AlavesAlaves3059162447-2324
20EibarEibar30411152236-1423

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