Preview: Mallorca vs. Athletic Bilbao

Preview: Mallorca vs. Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao will be bidding to make it three La Liga victories in a row when they travel to a struggling Mallorca outfit on Monday night.

The Basque outfit are currently eighth in the table, four points behind fourth-placed Barcelona, while Mallorca occupy 17th position, five points clear of 18th-placed Cadiz in the battle to avoid relegation.

Mallorca will enter Monday’s contest off the back of a 2-1 win over Cadiz on February 5, with penalties from Salva Sevilla and Vedat Muriqi securing a huge victory in the relegation six-pointer.

Luis Garcia’s side remain 17th in the table, though, only five points clear of the bottom three, so they are far from in a comfortable position heading into a vital stage of the campaign.

Mallorca secured a return to this level by finishing second in the Segunda Division last season, and their number one priority this term was always going to be consolidating in La Liga, but they did manage to reach the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey before losing to Rayo Vallecano earlier this month.

The Pirates have only lost two of their 11 home league games this season, meanwhile, and should be in good confidence heading into the contest considering their win over Cadiz last time out.

Mallorca have not actually beaten Athletic in La Liga since February 2011, though, and suffered a 2-0 defeat when they travelled to San Mames for the reverse match back in September.

Athletic, meanwhile, will bring a five-game unbeaten run into this contest, while they have not lost in Spain’s top flight since December 22, picking up 10 points from the last 12 available.

The Basque outfit have won their last two in the league against Rayo Vallecano and Espanyol to move onto 34 points, which has left them in eighth spot in the table, just four points behind fourth-placed Barcelona.

Athletic were also in Copa del Rey action on Thursday night, drawing 1-1 with Valencia in the first leg of their semi-final, with Raul Garcia on the scoresheet for the home side at San Mames.

Marcelino’s side, who finished 10th in Spain’s top flight last term, are not in Europe this season, so their focus is on La Liga and the Copa del Rey in the final months of the season, facing Real Sociedad and Barcelona in the league in their next two before travelling to Valencia in the Copa del Rey on March 2.

Athletic’s away form this season has been impressive, meanwhile, losing just one of their 12 matches, collecting 17 points in the process, which is the fourth-best record in the division.

Mallorca La Liga form:
Mallorca form (all competitions):
Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:
Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):

We say: Mallorca 2-2 Athletic Bilbao
Athletic have been the draw specialists on their travels in La Liga this season, sharing the points in eight of their 12 matches, while Mallorca have lost just twice in front of their own supporters this term. As a result, despite Athletic’s excellent form, we are backing the two sides to play out an entertaining draw here.

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