Athletic Bilbao will look to get back to winning ways when they host Villarreal at the San Mames Stadium in La Liga on Sunday.
Athletic Bilbao Match Form
Los Leones are in the middle of a wretched run of form which currently places them in 11th place, level on points with Osasuna below them. While they are 1 point behind Levante, the final European spot is 9 points away.
While results need to improve for an upward climb, Gaizka Garitano’s men are just one match away from reaching the Copa del Rey final. They have already won 1-0 in the first leg of the semifinal against Granada and will need to just get a result in the second leg.
Thus, it is understandable for Athletic to shift their attention, however, winning this game could easily build momentum, especially after losing 2-1 to Alaves in the previous league game.
Villarreal Match Form
Coming to their opponents, Villarreal have improved upon last season, where they finished 14th. This time around, the Yellow Submarine find themselves in 7th place, 2 points behind Sociedad in 6th and level on points with local rivals Valencia.
With no other trophy to play for, Javier Calleja’s men can focus their entire attention towards finishing as high as possible in the league, especially in one of the European spots. Their recent uptick in form definitely helps in that regard.
After losing 3-1 to Atletico Madrid in the previous league game, Calleja will want his men to respond with a win in this one.
Team News & H2H
In terms of team news, Asier Villalibre and Oscar de Marcos are the expected absentees for the hosts. Meanwhile, Manu Morlanes and Bruno Soriano are ruled out for the visitors.
Looking at head-to-head, Bilbao have won 15 to Villarreal’s 17 in 45 meetings so far. In the last 5 league meetings, both teams have one win apiece. The reverse fixture ended in a 0-0 draw, and another stalemate is not entirely out of question.
Athletic Bilbao vs Villarreal Betting Tips
However, looking at recent form, Bilbao have lost their last 4 league games in a row while their visitors have lost just once in their last 5 in the league. Further, barring the loss to Atleti, the Yellow Submarine are unbeaten in their last 4 away games in the league.
Thus, head-to-head points to a potential draw, however, recent form is firmly in favour of the visitors. Further, Garitano’s men could have one eye on the upcoming semifinal as well.
Therefore, Calleja’s men can be expected to win a comfortable 2-0 in this one and continue their quest for securing a European berth.
Athletic Bilbao Predicted XI: Simon; Capa, Alvarez, Nunez, Martinez, Berchiche; Muniain, D. Garcia, Vesga; R. Garcia, Williams
Villarreal Predicted XI: Asenjo; Pena, Albiol, Torres, A. Moreno; Trigueros, Iborra, Cazorla; G. Moreno, Alcacer, Gomez