Valencia vs Bilbao by Jimeno
Valencia had a very easy job in the first knockout round of Europa League as the team firstly won 6:0 at home over Rapid Vienna, but also took impressive 4:0 victory in the second leg last Thursday evening. Moreover, the team finally improved in Primera as well, coming from two straight victories.
In the most recent game, the team managed to get a three pointer in an away game against Granada celebrating with 2:1 result. They were more concrete during the whole game and took the lead with goals from Parejo and Mina in the second halftime, while the hosts only managed to reduce the deficit in last minutes of the game. After this victory, the team climbed up to eleventh position, being five points below seventh placed Eibar, which means that they are in a must win situation here if the team is to get a European ticket for the next season. Home side should be playing in 4-3-3 formation with Cheryshev, Alcacer and Mina as forwards. Forward Santi Mina, offensive midfielder Zakaria Bakkali and central defender Aymen Abdennour are doubtful due minor knocks. Aderllan Santos should partner Shkodran Mustafi at the position of central backs.
Bilbao also played Europa league knockout stage last Thursday evening and had much more difficult task, but still managed to progress to the next round with a aggregate victory over Marseille 2:1. First leg in France ended as a 1:0 victory for the Spaniards who took a draw in the returning leg after very difficult ninety minutes.
Players of Marseille took the lead in 40th minute via Batshuayi, while the Spaniards replied nine minutes before the halftime whistle via Merino, with the French side pushing till the end of the game, but without success. As for Primera, they come from a narrow defeat at home against Sociedad, as the team has less than mediocre season, being still away from the European positions, currently a point away from seventh placed Eibar, but with two consecutive defeats now. Athletic Club should be playing in 4-2-3-1 formation with Aduriz as striker and Muniain, Eraso and Merino as offensive midfielders. Offensive midfielder Raul Garcia (28/4) is suspended for tonight's game, while injured remain offensive midfielder Inaki Wiliams (18/7) and Ibai Gomez (left midfielder, 5/0). On the bright side, Xabier Etxeita is back from suspension.
Valencia is looking kinda a better in previous few weeks, coming from four straight victories and will surely be looking to continue in the same manner. Bilbao comes after a difficult game in Europa League and even though the draw can't be excluded, I still see the home side as a favorites here.