Sunday, June 4, 2023

Prediction: Athletic Bilbao vs Sevilla

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 26 Apr 2023


Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 17/20

Bookmaker: Betfair

Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla are set to take each other on in the 31st round of the 2022/23 season in La Liga, a midweek pack of fixtures which ends on Thursday evening at the San Mames Barria in Bilbao.

The two clubs find themselves in very different circumstances, facing different sorts and levels of pressure to do well in this particular game.

Athletic Bilbao

For Bilbao, there’s pretty much everything to play for. Even a top-four finish and a place in the Champions League might be possible, but if that’s what they’re gunning for, then there’s no room for error. At the moment, Ernesto Valverde’s team are in seventh place with 46 points, nine less than Real Sociedad in fourth, three less than Real Betis in fifth, and one less than Villarreal in sixth. It’s important to note that Sociedad and Betis have already played their respective matches in this round, which means a victory over Sevilla would close those gaps down significantly with seven rounds still to go.

Bilbao’s hopes will certainly be boosted by the fact that they haven’t been beaten in the last six matches in any competitions, though their 1-1 draw at home in the second leg of the Copa del Rey against Osasuna wasn’t enough to see them through. In the league, they beat Valladolid away by 1-3, drew 0-0 at home against Getafe, beat Espanyol away by 1-2, beat Sociedad 2-0 at home, and beat Almeria away by 1-2.

Team News

Winger Jon Morcillo (collarbone) and midfielder Iker Muniain (calf) are injured, while midfielders Mikel Vesga and Oier Zarraga sit this one out through yellow-card suspension.

Valverde is still waiting to learn if Inigo Lekue is available. The right-back faces a late fitness test after a hamstring injury.

Unai Simon will be between the posts, with Oscar de Marcos, Yeray Alvarez, Inigo Martinez and Yuri Berchiche forming the back line. Ander Herrera and Unai Vencedor should pair up in the middle of the park, with the trio of Oihan Sancet, Nico Williams and Inaki Williams supporting Gorka Guruzeta upfront.


It’s been a very disappointing season on the domestic scene for Sevilla, but for the time being, they’re holding their own in Europe, and for the club holding the record for most Europa League trophies, that says something. At the moment, they’re preparing to face Juventus in the semifinals of the competition, and though the Bianconeri are, of course, a formidable opponent, Sevilla certainly have a decent chance to progress to the final.

But back in La Liga, Jose Luis Mendilibar’s team are currently in 12th place with 38 points, at an equal distance from Bilbao in sixth, the last to warrant European football next season, and Valencia in 18th, the first in the relegation zone. There is, of course, a long way to go yet and Sevilla pack a lot of quality, but realistically speaking, their best chance of playing in Europe in 2023/24 is to win the Europa League now.

Therefore, this match doesn’t hold much for this team, and they’ll probably look to boost their tally towards the end of the season when they face Espanyol, Valladolid, and Elche later on. Their main focus at this point will be on Juventus, and as professional as they are, their motivation to get a good result at San Mames is questionable.

Team News

Midfielder Joan Jordan is out for the season with an ACL tear, and the same could yet happen to defender Marcao, who is expected to remain out for a long time due to a hamstring problem. Midfielder Pape Gueye is ineligible to play in the Europa League this season, having been left out of the squad registered for the competition in the second half of the season, and the same applies to winger Tecatito.

With Marko Dmitrovic in goal, the centre-back pair of Tanguy Nianzou and Loic Bade should be flanked by World Cup winner Gonzalo Montiel and Manchester United loanee Alex Telles. The Serbo-Croat duo of Nemanja Gudelj and Ivan Rakitic will cover the middle of the park, with Bryan Gil, Erik Lamela and Suso supporting striker Youssef En-Nesyri.


Bilbao should obviously have the greater motive in this contest and they will be looking to take advantage of Sevilla’s split of focus to add three more points to their tally.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 17/20

Bookmaker: Betfair


Veselin Trajkovic

Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.



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