Preview: Mallorca vs. Athletic Bilbao

Preview: Mallorca vs. Athletic Bilbao

Top-six hopefuls Athletic Bilbao will be bidding to return to winning ways in Spain’s top flight when they continue their campaign away to Mallorca on Monday night.

The visitors are currently seventh in the table, three points behind sixth-placed Real Betis, while Mallorca occupy 12th position, nine points clear of the relegation zone.

Mallorca saw a four-game unbeaten run in Spain’s top flight come to an end on Wednesday evening when they suffered a 3-1 loss to Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano.

The Pirates finished 16th in La Liga last season following their promotion from the Segunda Division, and they are on course to improve on that spot during the 2022-23 campaign.

A total of 40 points from 31 matches has left Javier Aguirre’s side in 12th position in the table, nine points clear of the relegation zone, which is a healthy gap at this stage of the campaign.

Mallorca have picked up 25 points from their 15 home league games this season, but they will be facing an Athletic outfit with the fifth-best away record, claiming 22 points from 15 matches.

Los Bermellones are unbeaten in their last two games against Athletic, including a goalless draw earlier this season at San Mames, while they recorded a 3-2 win over the Basque outfit on home soil last term.

Athletic, meanwhile, have their eyes on a top-six finish entering the final straight, with the Lions currently seventh in the division, three points behind sixth-placed Real Betis.

Ernesto Valverde’s side won four of their five league games between March 17 and April 22, remaining unbeaten in the process, but they suffered a 1-0 home loss to an improving Sevilla on Thursday night.

A 92nd-minute penalty from Lucas Ocampos saw Sevilla emerge victorious at San Mames, and Athletic will know that they cannot afford too many slip-ups in order to claim a European spot for next term.

The Lions finished eighth last term, while they have not been in the top six since 2016, finishing 16th, 11th and 10th in three of their last five campaigns at this level of football.

Athletic will actually welcome Real Betis in their next game after this one on May 4, which could be a crucial affair, particularly as it comes ahead of a trip to fifth-placed Villarreal on May 13.

Mallorca La Liga form:

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:

Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):

We say: Mallorca 1-2 Athletic Bilbao
Athletic have one of the stronger away records in the division this season, but Mallorca have also been strong at home, losing just four of their 15 matches. It would not be a shock to see a home victory or a draw here, but we just have a feeling that Athletic will secure a vital three points.

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