Preview: Villarreal vs Athletic Bilbao – prediction, team news, line-ups
Sports Mole preview Saturday’s La Liga clash between Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
A key battle in the race for the top six spots in the La Liga table will take place at El Madrigal on Saturday, as Villarreal host Athletic Bilbao.
The seventh-placed hosts are currently one place and a point clear of their visitors as they come into the game after a victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.
After a disappointing first half of the season, Villarreal bounced back to put themselves in a strong position for a high La Liga standings, claiming nine wins and 29 points from 13 league games between mid-December and mid-December. March.
However, their hopes of finishing in the top six have recently taken a major hit, as Unai EmeryThe side have suffered defeats in each of their last two La Liga outings, first falling to relegation-threatened Cadiz while Ruben Sobrino hitting the only goal of the game into the dying embers.
After a crushing 2-0 loss to basement Levante, the Yellow Submarine headed into the first leg of their tricky Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich at home, and they took a somewhat surprising advantage, as Arnaut Danjuma scored the only goal of the game in Spain in the first 10 minutes.
While they know they still have a lot of work to do in this tie to progress, with a trip to Bavaria looming this result should at least boost confidence in the side after a hard-fought victory against the champions. Germany and the 2020 Champions League winners after two poor performances in La Liga.
Focusing now on the Spanish top flight, Emery’s men will aim to distance themselves further from their visitors and close the six-point gap between them and sixth-placed Real Sociedad with a home win this weekend .
Athletic Bilbao make the trip with the aim of overtaking their opponents after an important victory in their race to the top six.
While MarcelinoThe men of have impressed at various times throughout the season, they have often struggled for consistency and recently featured in a meeting with Elche after losing two and winning one of their previous four league outings.
However, they were able to get back to winning ways, because Alex Berenguer and Asier Villalibre scored on the scoresheet in a 2-1 home win, with JohnThe visitors’ late goal is not enough to salvage a result.
The win saw the Basque side fall one point behind Saturday’s opponents and seven points behind the top six with eight games to play, and they will now be keen to establish a winning streak to bolster their claim to continental qualification.
Form of Villarreal in La Liga:
Form of Villarreal (all competitions):
Form of Athletic Bilbao in La Liga:
Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):
Villarreal will remain without Alberto Moreno due to injury, while Boulaye Dia was also left out of the Bayern Munich clash, although an exciting winger Samu Chukwueze was fit to come off the bench after his own scare.
Arnaut Danjuma added to his impressive season with the only goal in this game, and he will continue to lead the line, now with 14 goals and four assists in 29 La Liga and Champions League appearances this season.
He will likely be joined by the Spain international Gerard Morenowhile the likes of Dani Parejo, Francois Coquelin, Etienne Capoue and Tottenham Hotspur on loan Giovani Lo Celso will fight for places in midfield.
Athletic Bilbao key defender Inigo Martinez will stay out through injury, while Dani Garcia may also continue to miss alongside Inigo Lekue.
However, they will welcome Yeray Alvarez back from suspension, slightly easing Marcelino’s defensive issues.
Alex Berenguer will continue to operate on the wing after his goal last time out, with a talismanic captain Iker Muniain probably playing on the opposite flank and Inaki Williams lead the line.
Possible starting line-up for Villarreal:
Rulli; Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Estupinan; Pino, Parejo, Lo Celso, Chukwueze; Moreno, Danjouma
Possible starting line-up of Athletic Bilbao:
Simon; From Marcos, Vivian, Alvarez, Berchiche; Berenguer, Vencedor, Vesga, Muniain; Sancet, Williams
We say: Villarreal 2-1 Athletic Bilbao
The Yellow Submarine will be full of confidence after his impressive midweek victory, and we believe he will claim all three points from Saturday’s six-point game, given the quality he boasts of throughout the pitch. .
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their proven football tips.Under 3.5: data