Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Sevilla

Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Sevilla

Fresh from sealing a dramatic late victory over Villarreal, Sevilla will look to extend their unbeaten streak to seven matches when they face Athletic Bilbao at San Mames on Thursday night.

Thanks to a six-game unbeaten run of their own, the hosts lead Sevilla by eight points in the La Liga table, while Athletic find themselves just one point shy of the European places.

Athletic Bilbao extended their winning streak to three matches with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Almeria on Saturday, courtesy of goals from Nico Williams and Oscar de Marcos.

Williams has now bagged six goals and five assists in the league this season, while his older brother, Inaki Williams, has scored three goals in his last three appearances, including a brace in last week’s 2-0 victory over Real Sociedad.

Not only have the Lions avoided defeat in each of their last six games across all competitions – picking up four wins and two draws along the way – but they have lost just one of their previous eight encounters.

As a result, Ernesto Valverde’s men find themselves two points behind fifth-placed Real Betis, meaning that Europa League qualification remains a real possibility.

Only the top four teams have a better defensive record than Athletic, while only four sides in the division have scored more goals, so the Basque outfit deserve to be pushing for European football once again.

Sevilla head into Thursday’s clash on the back of a last-gasp victory over Villarreal, with Youssef En-Nesyri scoring the winning goal in the 94th minute to send the Roman Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium into raptures.

Thanks to Sunday’s 2-1 triumph, Los Nervionenses have taken 10 points from their last four La Liga encounters, with 2-0 wins at Cadiz and Valencia preceding last weekend’s victory.

It is also worth noting that Sevilla have lost just two of their previous 10 games across all competitions, picking up six wins and two draws in the process, with a memorable 3-0 victory over Manchester United sending the club in the Europa League semi-finals.

Jorge Sampaoli was sacked on March 21 following a run of five defeats in seven matches, with Jose Luis Mendilibar replacing the Argentine at the helm, and the new manager has yet to taste defeat as Sevilla boss.

Not so long ago, it looked as though Sevilla would be involved in a relegation dogfight, but the Andalusia outfit have turned their season around and now find themselves just two points shy of the top 10.

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:

Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):

Sevilla La Liga form:

Sevilla form (all competitions):

We say: Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Sevilla
Both sides enter Thursday’s showdown in strong form, so we expect Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla to dish up a closely-fought battle as they look to continue their respective hot streaks.

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