Villarreal vs. Athletic Bilbao – Preview, Prediction, Team news, Lineups

In one of the most anticipated matches in La Liga this weekend, Villarreal is set to host Athletic Bilbao at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Sunday evening.

Both teams recently participated in the Copa del Rey, with Villarreal securing a convincing 5-0 victory over Chiclana in the competition’s first round, while Athletic Bilbao also advanced to the second round with a 2-1 win over Rubi.

Match Preview:

The current La Liga campaign has not been ideal for Villarreal, as they find themselves in the lower half of the table.

Despite finishing fifth in Spain’s top flight last season, they have managed only three wins, three draws, and five defeats in 11 league games this season, earning a total of 12 points, placing them in 12th position.

However, Villarreal has shown signs of improvement over the last month, with just one loss in their last five matches across all competitions, including victories in the Europa League and Copa del Rey.

In the Europa League, Villarreal stands at third place in their group, one point behind second-placed Panathinaikos, with a game in hand due to the postponement of their recent fixture against Maccabi Haifa.

In addition, Villarreal advanced in the Copa del Rey with a resounding 5-0 win over Chiclana and secured their first La Liga victory since September by defeating Granada 3-2 last weekend.

Athletic Bilbao also earned their spot in the second round of the Copa del Rey with a 2-1 win over Rubi.

In their recent La Liga outing, they managed a 2-2 draw against Valencia, thanks to a 97th-minute effort from Alex Berenguer.

The Lions have won five, drawn three, and lost three of their 11 league games this season, accumulating 18 points, positioning them in sixth place, just one point behind fifth-placed Real Sociedad.

Although Athletic Bilbao had been on an eight-game unbeaten streak against Villarreal, they suffered a 5-1 loss in their previous meeting.

Villarreal La Liga form:

  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W

Villarreal form (all competitions):

  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:

  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D

Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):

  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

Team News:

Villarreal will be without Francis Coquelin, Denis Suarez, and Yeremy Pino for the clash with Athletic, while Juan Foyth and Alfonso Pedraza remain doubtful.

Alexander Sorloth is expected to feature in the forward line alongside Gerard Moreno, and Manu Trigueros, who scored a hat-trick in the Copa del Rey, is set to join the starting XI.

Athletic Bilbao has a slight doubt over Nico Williams due to a muscular injury, while Yuri Berchiche is also a major doubt.

Ander Herrera and Yeray Alvarez are unavailable for selection due to hamstring and muscle injuries.

There will be significant changes to the lineup, but Malcom Adu’s brace in the Copa del Rey has put him in contention for a starting position.

Possible Starting Lineups:

Villarreal:

  • Jorgensen;
  • Alti, Albiol, Gabbia, A Moreno;
  • Trigueros, Capoue, Parejo, Baena;
  • G Moreno, Sorloth

Athletic Bilbao:

  • Simon;
  • De Marcos, Vivian, Paredes, Garcia de Albeniz;
  • Ruiz de Galarreta, D Garcia;
  • I Williams, Sancet, N Williams;
  • Guruzeta

Prediction:

Five of the last nine La Liga meetings between these two teams have ended in draws, and we anticipate a similar outcome this weekend.

While Villarreal has shown improvement recently, Athletic Bilbao is a strong side, and a low-scoring draw is likely in this matchup.

  • Our Prediction: Villarreal 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
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