Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs Espanyol – predictions, team news, rosters
Sports Mole preview Monday’s La Liga clash between Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Athletic Bilbao will look for four straight wins in all competitions when they resume their La Liga campaign at home against Espanyol Monday evening.
The hosts are currently ninth in the table, with 31 points from 22 league appearances this season, while Espanyol are 13th, four points clear of their opponents in this game.
Athletic booked their place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals on Thursday night thanks to a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid, with Alex Berenguer scoring the only goal of the contest in the closing rallies.
Having also beaten Barcelona in this season’s Copa del Rey, there is no doubt that the Basque side deserve a place in the last four, and they are also unbeaten in their last three league games, beating Osasuna and Rayo. Vallecano, in addition to sharing the points with Alaves.
A record of seven wins, 10 draws and five losses in 22 matches brought Athletic 31 points and left them ninth in the table, just five points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid.
MarcelinoThe side, who finished 10th in La Liga last season, have struggled for consistency in front of their own fans this term, winning four, drawing two and losing four of their 10 home league games.
The Lions are unbeaten against Espanyol in the Spanish top flight since November 2018, although three of the last four La Liga fixtures between the two sides have ended squared.
Espanyol, meanwhile, have not been in action since suffering a 4-1 home loss to Real Betis on January 21, which made it three league games without a win.
The Catalan side have actually won just one of their last five games in the Spanish top flight, which traveled to Valencia at the end of December, and they have lost at home to Elche and Real Betis since the start. of the year.
The Whites and Blues still enjoyed a fairly successful campaign at this level of football, collecting 27 points from their 22 matches thanks to seven wins and six draws.
Espanyol currently sit 13th in the table, nine points from the relegation zone, while they could potentially move into the top half if they win on Monday and further results go their way this weekend.
Vincent Morenowho are the reigning Segunda Division champions, have held Athletic to a draw in their last two meetings but suffered a 3-0 defeat when they last visited San Mames in October 2019.
Form of Athletic Bilbao in La Liga:
Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):
Form of Espanyol in La Liga:
Espanyol form (all competitions):
Athletic could do without the services of Unai Vencedor and Nicholas Williams Monday due to injury, but the home side are otherwise in excellent form heading into the game.
Berenguer’s late goal against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey could give the Spaniard a start, while Michel Balenziaga grows to feature at left-back for the home side.
Head coach Marcelino could also decide to freshen up his midfield on Monday, with Oier Zarraga potentially replacing Michael Vesga stand alongside Dani Garcia.
As for Espanyol, Yangel Herrera is a doubt through injury, while the visitors will certainly be without top scorer Raúl de Tomas by suspension.
The absence of De Tomas, which is a blow for the Catalan formation, could open the door to Wu Lei stand alongside Loren Moron in the last third of the peloton.
Head coach Moreno is expected to make changes to the disappointing loss to Betis before the break, with Adri Embarba also pushing to feature in a wide area.
Possible starting line-up of Athletic Bilbao:
Simon; Lekue, Vivian, Martinez, Balenziaga; Berenguer, Zarraga, D. Garcia, Muniain; R Garcia, I Williams
Possible starting line-up of Espanyol:
Diego Lopez; Gil, Gomez, Cabrera, Pedrosa; Embarba, Darder, Morlanes, Puado; Moron, Wu Lei
We say: Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Espanyol
Athletic will be full of confidence after beating Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey, and we’re backing the Basque club to win again here. De Tomas’ absence is a blow to Espanyol, who could narrowly miss San Mames on Monday night.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their proven football tips.More than 1.5: data