Sunday, November 17, 2019

Prediction: Athletic Bilbao vs Villarreal

Juan Pablo Aravena in Free Soccer Predictions, La Liga 25 Sep 2018


Verdict: Under 2.5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 10/13

Bookmaker: 888sport

Both Athletic Bilbao and Villarreal have started the 2018/19 La Liga season performing below the required expectations. And considering what’s at stake here and the position both sides are in the standings, it’s safe to say both need a win to start their comeback in what has been a dreadful start to the season. A negative result could – potentially – complicate both sides with relegation going forward.

Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao are one of three undefeated teams in La Liga this season, although it needs to be acknowledged that they have one less game due to the fact their game against Rayo Vallecano got postponed. Still, Athletic have looked quite solid this season. They began the year with a convincing 2-1 win over Leganes, and afterwards they fought to earn a 2-2 draw against Huesca. As if that wasn’t enough, they also played out to a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid, and a 2-2 draw against Real Betis. Looking undefeated in the standings should feel nice, but not everything that shines is gold. After all, Athletic are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, and it’s clear they also need a lot of work on the defensive end. Taking points in every single game should boost their morale and they already showed they can compete with anyone based on what they did against Real Madrid. Can they continue that run against Villarreal?

Team News

Lekue has been ruled out of this match due to an ankle injury. In fact, the 25-year-old midfielder is yet to feature for Los Leones this season. Markel Susaeta has also been ruled out due to a suspension.

As if that wasn’t enough, two other regular squad members that could end up missing the game are Iago Herrerin (elbow) and Aritz Aduriz (muscular). That could leave Athletic without their starting goalkeeper and without their long-time top scorer.


If we only look at the numbers, we can see that Villarreal do have what it takes to return home with the three points. In fact, they are only one of two sides – along with Real Betis – that are yet to concede a goal playing away from home, but their scoring record of just one goal scored in two matches does not look very threatening at all. El Submarino Amarillo has not gotten to a very good start, though, as they have won just one of their five league matches and currently sit closer to relegation rather than a potential European berth. But there is enough time left to turn things around. The fact that they have not conceded in each of their last two games should be positive, but we have to be realistic. Villarreal need to improve on their scoring record if they want to repeat their 2017/18 season outings. Scoring just two goals in five matches is not going to cut it.

Team News

Villarreal won’t have Santiago Caseres available. The defensive midfielder has been ruled out due to a knee injury.

To make things a bit more complicated, Bruno (knee) and Javi Fuego (ankle) are both doubtful. Needless to say, both players would start if fit.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Each of the last three league meetings between these two sides in Bilbao have produced under 2.5 goals.
  • Overall, Villarreal are without a clean sheet in four matches against Athletic Bilbao.
  • Villarreal are only one of two teams that are yet to concede a goal on the road. The other one are Real Betis.
  • The head-to-head record between both sides is quite balanced: 15 wins for Bilbao, 16 for Villarreal, and 11 draws.


As mentioned above, the last three matches between these two sides at San Mames have produced under 2.5 goals. And quite frankly, things shouldn’t change if we look at their current scoring records.

Expect this game to have under 2.5 goals scored once it’s all said and done.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 10/13

Bookmaker: 888sport


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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