Preview: Mallorca vs Athletic Bilbao – predictions, team news, rosters
Sports Mole presents Monday’s La Liga clash between Mallorca and Athletic Bilbao, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Athletic Bilbao will look for three straight La Liga wins when they travel to a struggling country Majorca held on Monday evening.
The Basque side are currently eighth in the table, four points behind fourth-placed Barcelona, while Mallorca sit 17th, five points clear of 18th-placed Cadiz in the battle to avoid relegation.
Mallorca enter Monday’s contest after a 2-1 win over Cadiz on February 5, with penalties of Salva Sevilla and Vedat Muriqi secure a huge six-point relegation win.
Luis GarciaThe side remain 17th in the table, however, just 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 that level by finishing second in the Segunda Division last season, and their number one priority this season was always going to be to consolidate in La Liga, but they managed to reach the Copa del Rey quarter-finals. before losing to Rayo Vallecano earlier this month.
The Pirates have lost just two of their 11 home league games this season, and should be in good confidence heading into the competition given their victory over Cadiz last time out.
However, Mallorca haven’t beaten Athletic in La Liga since February 2011 and suffered a 2-0 loss when they traveled to San Mames for the reverse game in September.
Athletic, meanwhile, will bring a five-game unbeaten streak to this contest, as they haven’t lost in the Spanish top flight since December 22, picking up 10 points from the last 12 available.
The Basque side have won their last two league games against Rayo Vallecano and Espanyol to move to 34 points, which puts them in eighth place 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 home team’s score sheet in San Mames.
MarcelinoThe Spain side, who finished 10th in the Spanish top flight last term, are not in Europe this term so will focus on La Liga and Copa del Rey in the final months of the season, facing at Real Sociedad and Barcelona in the league in their next two before traveling 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, picking up 17 points in the process, which is the fourth-best record in the division.
Form of Mallorca in La Liga:
Form of Mallorca (all competitions):
Form of Athletic Bilbao in La Liga:
Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):
Mallorca will be without the services of Dominik Greif and Iddrisu Baba by injury, while Amath Ndiaye will miss the competition by suspension.
Head coach Garcia could select the same side that took to the pitch for the first whistle against Cadiz last time out, with Muriqi joined in the final third of the pitch by angel.
Antonio Sanchez and Abdon Prat are change options, but Sevilla are expected to keep their place in midfield, while Dani Rodriguez and Takefusa Kubo should be in the extended areas.
As for Athletic, Nicholas Williams will miss the match due to injury, while Unai Vencedor remains a doubt on the physical condition due to a problem with the hamstrings.
Visitors will also be without Inigo Martinezwho received a late yellow card against Espanyol in the league last time out, so Yeray Alvarez could get into the back four.
Oscar de Marcoswho has recovered from COVID-19, is pushing to come on the side at right-back, but Inigo Lekue should keep its place, while Iker Muniain and Inaki Williams should both be in the bottom third of the pack.
Possible starting line-up in Mallorca:
Rico; Maffeo, Raillo, Valjent, Olivan; Kubo, Sevilla, Galarreta, D Rodriguez; Angel, Muriqi
Possible starting line-up of Athletic Bilbao:
Simon; Lekue, Vivian, Alvarez, Berchiche; Berenguer, Zarraga, D. Garcia, Muniain; I Williams, Sancet
We say: Mallorca 2-2 Athletic Bilbao
Athletic have been the draw specialists on their La Liga trips this season, sharing the points in eight of their 12 matches, while Mallorca have only lost twice in front of their own fans this season. As a result, despite Athletic’s excellent form, we back both teams to play an entertaining draw here.