Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Celta Vigo

Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Celta Vigo

Athletic Bilbao will be looking to boost their chances of securing a European finish in the La Liga table when they welcome Celta Vigo to San Mames on Saturday afternoon.

The Lions are currently eighth in the division, one point behind seventh-placed Girona, while Celta occupy 13th, five points clear of the relegation zone, with survival for next season not yet secured.

Athletic have only picked up one point from their last four league games, while they will enter this match off the back of successive defeats to Real Betis and Villarreal.

Ernesto Valverde’s side conceded five in their defeat at Villarreal last time out, but the Basque outfit are still very much in the mix for a European finish in La Liga, currently sitting eighth, one point behind seventh-placed Girona on the same number of games (34).

Seventh in La Liga would secure qualification for the Europa Conference League playoff round, and it would represent Athletic’s highest position in Spain’s top flight since claiming fifth in 2015-16.

The Lions have struggled to show consistency at home this season, winning seven, drawing three and losing seven of their 17 matches, and they will be welcoming a Celta side that have picked up points in eight of their 17 matches on their travels.

Athletic have also lost their last two La Liga matches against Celta, including a 1-0 defeat in the reverse game between the two sides earlier this season.

Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Celta Vigo – prediction, team news, lineups

Celta, meanwhile, will enter this match off the back of three straight losses to Villarreal, Getafe and Valencia, which have seen them drop into 13th position in the table.

Carlos Carvalhal’s side have actually now been beaten in five of their last six league games, and they are only five points clear of the relegation zone, with their position in the top flight for next season far from secure.

The Sky Blues have not played in the Segunda Division since 2012, so it would be a surprise to see them relegated, and they are still in a relatively good position when it comes to avoiding relegation.

Celta’s next match after this one is at home to Girona, before travelling to Cadiz and hosting Barcelona, and they would not want to enter their last game of the season needing to pick up a result.

Carvalhal’s team were close to claiming a point at home to Valencia last time out, with the score level at 1-1 entering the final stages, only for Alberto Mari to win it for the visitors in the 88th minute.

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:

Celta Vigo La Liga form:

We say: Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Celta Vigo
Neither team will enter this match in the best of form, but we are expecting Athletic to emerge victorious on Saturday afternoon. Celta could be missing their first-choice front two this weekend, which makes the Lions even bigger favourites to claim all three points.

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