MX23RW : Tuesday, September 21 05:41:22| >> :120:19034:19034:
Dec 12, 2020 at 1pm UK at Mestalla
Athletic BilbaoAthletic Bilbao
Soler (26' pen.), Vallejo (83')
Gomez (36'), Jason (90+1')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Villalibre (55'), Garcia (79' pen.)
Vesga (31'), Garcia (61'), Lopez (73'), Alvarez (82'), Berenguer (84'), Garcia (90+4')

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

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

Both Valencia and Athletic Bilbao will be looking to return to winning ways in Spain's top flight when they lock horns at the Mestalla on Saturday afternoon.

A disappointing start to the 2020-21 campaign has left Valencia in 13th position in La Liga, while Athletic sit one spot behind in 14th but have the same points as their opponents this weekend.

Match preview

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

Three wins, four draws and five defeats - that is how Valencia have performed in Spain's top flight this season, picking up 13 points from 12 matches to sit 13th in the table, just two points outside of the relegation zone.

Goals have not been a problem for Los Che this season, scoring 17 in their 12 matches, but they have conceded 17 times, which is among the poorest records in the division and an indication of their issues.

Valencia recorded a standout 4-1 win over Real Madrid towards the start of November but have failed to win in their three games since then, drawing with Alaves and Eibar, in addition to losing to Atletico Madrid.

Issues off the field have translated to struggles on it, with head coach Javi Gracia admitting earlier this season that he wants to leave and is only remaining in his position due to a contractual obligation.

The six-time La Liga champions finished ninth in the league last term after claiming fourth in 2017-18 and 2018-19, and it does appear that they could be heading for a bottom-half finish this term.

Athletic Bilbao head coach Gaizka Garitano pictured in March 2020© Reuters

Consistency has also been a problem for Athletic this season, with the Basque outfit winning four but losing six of their 11 league games this season to sit down in 14th position ahead of the next set of matches.

Gaizka Garitano's side picked up three wins from their five matches between October 18 and November 23 before collecting a welcome point away to Getafe at the end of last month.

Athletic suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Celta Vigo last time out, though, and now face two difficult away games against Valencia and Real Madrid, then welcome hosting struggling Huesca on December 18.

The Basque side, who have won La Liga on eight occasions, will be bidding to improve on last season's 11th-place finish in Spain's top flight, but it is difficult to imagine them pushing towards a European finish.

That said, they recorded a 2-0 victory against Valencia in the corresponding match last term and certainly have enough quality to harm a struggling Los Che on Saturday afternoon.

Valencia La Liga form: LDWDLD

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form: LWLWDL

Team News

Lee Kang-in in action for Valencia on November 8, 2020© Reuters

Valencia will be without the services of Jasper Cillessen and Kevin Gameiro on Saturday through injury, while the match is also expected to come too soon for Jose Gaya.

Hugo Guillamon is available after a one-match suspension, but the Spaniard has a slight hamstring problem, meaning that Eliaquim Mangala could keep his spot at the back alongside Gabriel Paulista.

Denis Cheryshev could be available, having now tested negative for coronavirus, but Lee Kang-in remains a doubt, which could see Manu Vallejo continue in the final third of the field alongside Maxi Gomez.

As for Athletic, Peru Nolaskoain will be absent due to injury, but Inigo Martinez is available after a one-game suspension and should return to the starting side.

Garitano's biggest decision will seemingly come in the final third of the field as he decides between Asier Villalibre and Raul Garcia to lead the attack.

Unai Lopez and Mikel Balenziaga are also options for change, but Unai Vencedor and Mikel Vesga should again line up in the middle of the park for the Basque outfit.

Valencia possible starting lineup:
Domenech; Wass, Gabriel, Mangala, Lato; Musah, Racic, Soler, Guedes; Gomez, Vallejo

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Capa, Alvarez, Martinez, Yuri; Vencedor, Vesga; Williams, Muniain, Berenguer; R Garcia

SM words green background

We say: Valencia 2-1 Athletic Bilbao

Valencia are capable of causing problems to any side in La Liga, as they demonstrated against Real Madrid last month. Los Che have not been at their best in recent weeks, but we fancy them to have enough to overcome an inconsistent Athletic side on Saturday afternoon.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at 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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Lee Kang-in in action for Valencia on November 8, 2020
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Todays Game Header Right
1Real Madrid5410157813
2Atletico MadridAtletico532074311
4Real Sociedad531164210
5Athletic Bilbao52304139
10Rayo Vallecano52128537
11Real Betis51316606
18Celta Vigo5014410-61

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