Soccer Spain LaLiga Prediction
Ath Bilbao vs Celta Vigo - Match Preview
⚽ 20 May 2023 - 14:15 GMT +0
Ernesto Valverde is urging his Athletic Bilbao players “to go all out” as they look to bounce back from their heaviest La Liga (LL) defeat in seven years. The manager admits his side was “punished” during a 5-1 battering by Villarreal, a result which was yet another dent to their hopes of securing European football for the first time since 2017/18 as they finished match day 34 in eighth place in the table.
That capped off a miserable few weeks for the Lions, who are now without a win in four outings (D1, L3), including back-to-back 1-0 home defeats to Sevilla and Real Betis. That means they are now at risk of suffering three successive LL losses at San Mamés for the first time since July 2020, a statistic Valverde will be desperate to avoid as he looks to eat up the ground on seventh-placed Girona.
Visitors Celta Vigo could therefore prove to be perfect opposition given they have tumbled spectacularly out of the top half of the table thanks to a run of five defeats in six outings (W1). However, the Sky Blues do boast an impressive recent record against Athletic, whom they have lost to just once in the last seven H2Hs (W4, D2), keeping an impressive five clean sheets in the process!
That may provide some much-needed confidence for boss Carlos Carvalhal, who branded his side’s performance in their 2-1 defeat to struggling Valencia last weekend as “unacceptable”. The manager also admits he is worried about their inability to “stay focused during the 90 minutes”, which is perhaps a leading cause as to why Celta have only kept one clean sheet in their last nine outings (W2, D2, L5).
📋 Key battle: All of Iñaki Williams’ last eight goals for Athletic have been the first or last of the game. Attempting to thwart him, Celta captain Hugo Mallo has only won once in nine away meetings with the Lions (D2, L6) across all competitions.
⚡ Hot stat: Celta Vigo has not won a single LL game in which they have conceded the first goal this season (D5, L14).
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