Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Valencia

Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Valencia

Athletic Bilbao will be looking to make it three straight wins in La Liga when they continue their domestic campaign at home to Valencia on Saturday afternoon.

The Basque outfit are currently eighth in the table, five points behind sixth-placed Real Sociedad, while Valencia occupy 10th, eight points behind their opponents this weekend.

Athletic have lost just one of their last six in La Liga, recording three wins in the process, including back-to-back victories over Cadiz and Atletico in their last two contests at this level of football.

Last weekend, Marcelino’s side recorded a 2-0 win over Atletico, with Inaki Williams netting from the penalty spot in the 56th minute after Mario Hermoso had scored past his own goalkeeper in the first half.

A total of 51 points from 34 matches has left Athletic in eighth position in the table, one point behind seventh-placed Villarreal and now only five from sixth-placed Real Sociedad, so they are in with a chance of securing European football for the 2022-23 campaign.

The Lions have not finished higher than seventh in Spain’s top flight since claiming fifth in 2015-16, while they are on course to improve on last season’s 10th-place finish in La Liga.

Marcelino’s team have won nine, drawn three and lost five of their 17 home league matches this season to gather 30 points, and they will be welcoming a Valencia outfit that have collected 20 points from their 17 games on their travels, which is the 10th-best away record in the division.

Valencia, meanwhile, will enter this match off the back of a 1-1 draw with rivals Levante last weekend; Hugo Duro sent Los Che ahead in the 27th minute of the contest, but Oscar Duarte levelled the scores late on.

The result left Jose Bordalas’s side in 10th position in the table, boasting 43 points from their 34 matches courtesy of a record of 10 wins, 13 draws and 11 defeats.

Valencia are without a win in their last five league matches, sharing the points with Cadiz, Rayo Vallecano and Levante, in addition to losing to Osasuna and Villarreal.

Los Che will take on Athletic, Real Betis, Espanyol and Celta Vigo in their final four league games of the campaign, and they will be looking to improve on last season’s 13th-place finish, which proved to be their poorest final position at this level of football since the 1987-88 campaign.

Each of the last three league matches between these two sides have finished level, including a 1-1 draw at Mestalla earlier this season, while the corresponding clash last term also ended 1-1.

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:
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Valencia La Liga form:
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Valencia form (all competitions):
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We say: Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Valencia
Valencia are struggling to pick up wins at the moment, but the same cannot be said for Athletic, who will now have sixth-placed Real Sociedad in their sights. Valencia are capable of picking up a positive result here, but we are backing Athletic to secure all three points courtesy of a narrow success.

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