Monday, May 21, 2018

Prediction: Athletic Club vs Valencia


Verdict: Valencia Draw no bet

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

Having finally ended the barren run of results, Athletic Club will be looking for more of the same when they welcome high-flying Valencia at their San Mames. Los Che have successfully overcome a rough patch of their own and they have seriously improved their Champions League hopes in recent weeks.

Athletic Club

Athletic Club have been in and around Europa League positions in virtually every single campaign in recent years, but the club have been on a minor downtrend of late. Los Leones have been selling their key players for years on end, but the problem is that there is simply not enough fresh talent coming through the ranks at the moment. This has led to Athletic breaking their transfer record with the purchase of centre-back Inigo Martinez from arch rivals Real Sociedad, although only after they had sold Aymeric Laporte to Man City for double the fee.

With just 14 games to go until the La Liga campaign ends, it seems that it is already too late to salvage this season, but los Leones will be looking to show some improvement in the season finale and build a nice base for the next term. Los Leones will be focusing their efforts instead on the Europa League campaign, where they will face Marseille in the Last 16 stage after the 4-3 aggregate triumph over Russian champions Spartak Moscow. However, they are first set to face Valencia and Sevilla on domestic stage.

Team News

Experienced midfielder Mikel Rico will miss three weeks of action through a muscle problem, but Aritz Aduriz and Inigo Martinez have recovered from minor knocks. Iker Muniain and Mikel Balenziaga continue to miss out.

Valencia

Chances are not too many people had seen Valencia as serious top 4 contenders before the season started, but los Che have seriously exceeded the expectations and now have the opportunity to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in three years. As expected, the excellent run of results had to come to an end at some point, with Valencia suffering four straight defeats in all competitions, but the most important thing is los Che have since returned to the right track.

Marcelino Garcia Toral’s side went on to record successive league wins over Levante, Malaga and Real Sociedad, making sure they remained in fourth position with 49 points and they are now the favourites to clinch the final UCL berth ahead of Villarreal (41) and Sevilla (39). The match against underperforming Athletic Club, who are also focused on the Europa League, will seem as a good opportunity to extend the winning run and we believe los Che will do well at San Mames.

Team News

Andreas Pereira has resumed training, but is unlikely to face Athletic Club, but important midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia should return to the side.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Athletic won just two of last eight home games (D4 L2)
  • Los Leones failed to score in four of those matches
  • Valencia won 6 of last 10 away fixtures (L4)
  • Los Che scored a total of 19 goals in the process
  • The two teams are tied in last six meetings with three wins each

Conclusion

Athletic have been struggling for form of late and they’ve got several key men either injured or not in the best shape. Valencia, on the other hand, have returned to the right track and with 6 wins in last 10 away games, we are backing them to enjoy a good evening at San Mames.

Verdict: Valencia Draw no bet

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

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