Soccer Spain LaLiga Prediction
Ath Bilbao vs Elche - Match Preview
⚽ 28 May 2023 - 17:00 GMT +0
Ernesto Valverde admitted it’s “not going to be easy” for Athletic Bilbao to qualify for European football for the first time since 2017/18 after they suffered a third defeat in four matches (W1). The manager saw his side slip to eighth place in La Liga (LL) on Thursday after a damaging 2-0 loss to Osasuna, whom they are now below in the table because of an inferior H2H record.
It has been a torrid run for the Lions, whose issues at both ends of the field are evidenced by failing to keep a clean sheet in seven outings (W2, D1, L4), while also going goalless in three of their last six matches. Their form at San Mamés is also of a particular concern, given no team outside of the relegation zone has suffered more than Athletic’s total of seven home defeats (W8, D3), which is also their largest number of league reversals in Bilbao since 2012/13.
The hosts may be confident of bouncing back to winning ways against already-relegated Elche, who have lost five of the last seven H2Hs (W1, D1), including a 4-1 hammering back in September when they conceded four times before half-time! Los Franjiverdes have, however, finally found some form in LL of late, losing just once in five outings since late April (W2, D2).
That run included a 1-1 draw against Sevilla on Wednesday, when Sebastián Beccacece’s side came from behind to pick up a point. Beccacece described himself as “very proud” of how his players performed in that outing, but the recent resurgence has come far too late to extend Elche’s three-year stint in the top-flight, and regardless of their results from their remaining two fixtures, they will finish rock bottom with their lowest points total of the century.
📋 Key battle: Athletic will be hoping Oihan Sancet has got his shooting boots on, given they have won eight of the last ten matches he has scored in (L2), each of which also contained at least three goals. That could be bad news for Elche goalkeeper Édgar Badía, who has never kept a clean sheet against the Lions (L3) and has conceded in 16 of his last 17 away LL games.
⚡ Hot stat: Athletic have only dropped two points when scoring the first goal in LL this season (W12, D1).
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