Athletic Bilbao – Valencia – Certainly an interesting match, because it will be played between two great teams that didn’t exactly distinguish themselves this season, especially domestic Athletic who after last year’s dream season now fights battle for survival.
Valencia is also not on the level from the last season, but is evidently getting better and is close to the position they want despite elimination from the Champions League. Valencia has played three consecutive draws, while Athletic in the last round broke out from the negative series. In the first part of the season they played a terrific match in which the team from Bilbao led two minutes before the end, but was at the end defeated with 3-2. Otherwise, Athletic waits on victory against Valencia since 2009, and the last three matches in Bilbao were won by guests. Begins: 10.03.2013 – 12:00 CET
There is nothing new at Athletic, although in the last round won and ended the negative series. We say nothing new because they had already have this situation many times before, when after weak matches plays brilliantly and win, and then again everything is as usual. They now hope that a win in Pamplona against Osasuna is finally a start of a lasting positive series. It actually might be the case because win against the Basque rival Osasuna in an away game is not a small matter, so the mood within the team is now much better. It was a real soothing balm after being utterly defeated by the second Basque rival, Real Sociedad in Bilbao. After that defeat, the coach Bielsa has made only one change as he returned Iraizoz on the goal, which was the right move because he shined and defended a number of host’s chances. For this match Bielsa will make another change as Ander Herrera has to pause because of showed cards, but Iker Muniain returns and he will replaced him. It is good that forward F. Llorente is in better form by every day, while minor injury of the former Valencia player Aduriz causes concern.
Probable lineups Athletic Bilbao: Iraizoz – Iraola, San Jose, Laporte, Aurtenetxe – Iturraspe – M.Susaeta, de Marcos, Ibai, Iker Muniain – Aduriz(F.Llorente)
Valencia’s in a draw series, but the last two of the three they played cannot be called a good result. The one from Zaragoza two rounds ago is a good one, because they were losing 2-0, but the one from the last rounds in the derby against Levante is not, given that they had the lead till two minutes before the end, and it’s always nice to win the city rival. On Wednesday they drew again against PSG in the Champions League and that 1-1 is just a little polish on the overall impression, because that was not enough for qualification in the next round. The problem for the coach Valverde is injury of the offensive wingback Joao Pereira, who has not played in Paris and was replaced by Barragan. There will not be two stoppers Rami and Ricardo Costa, and Guardado will not play due to showed cards, so the defence line is completely changed. Fatigue is also a pretty big problem for the Bats.
Probable lineups Valencia: Diego Alves – Barragan, Victor Ruiz, Mathieu, Cissokho – Tino Costa, Parejo – Feghouli, Banega, Jonas – Soldado
Better's Prediction: Asian handicap 0 Athletic Bilbao