Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Alaves

Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Alaves

Alaves will be looking to build on their shock victory over La Liga champions Atletico Madrid when they continue their 2021-22 campaign away to Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao on Friday night.

The 19th-placed visitors picked up their first win of the season at home to Atletico last time out, while Athletic will enter the contest off the back of a 1-1 draw with Valencia at Mestalla.

Athletic have won two, drawn four and lost one of their seven league matches this season to collect 10 points, which has left them in 10th spot in the table ahead of the next set of fixtures in Spain’s top flight.

The Lions, who finished 10th in La Liga last term, made a strong start to the campaign, but they have only picked up two points from their last three matches, drawing with Atletico and Valencia, in addition to suffering a surprise home defeat to Rayo Vallecano on September 21.

Athletic took the lead at Valencia last weekend through Inigo Martinez, but Marcos Andre levelled for the home side in the 95th minute, with the contest ending in frustration for the Basque outfit.

Marcelino’s side would move into sixth position, at least temporarily, if they win on Friday, though, and a record of just four goals conceded in the league this season shows that there is a strong base to build from.

Athletic have not enjoyed their recent meetings with Alaves, though, losing two of the last three contests, while the pair played out a goalless draw in the corresponding clash during the 2020-21 campaign.

Alaves are actually in their sixth straight season at this level of football, but they have ended the last two campaigns in 16th position, and it would not be a surprise to see another relegation battle this term.

El Glorioso would move out of the relegation zone if they manage to pick up another three points on Friday, and a record of just one defeat from their last seven La Liga meetings with Athletic should mean that Calleja’s team head into the fixture with a positive mindset despite their position in the table.

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:
Alaves La Liga form:

We say: Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Alaves
Alaves – looking to move out of the bottom three – will have been boosted by their shock win over Atletico, but 10th-placed Athletic have been difficult to beat this season, and we are expecting the home side to edge a tight contest at San Mames.

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