Soccer Spain LaLiga Prediction
Mallorca vs Ath Bilbao - Match Preview
⚽ 1 May 2023 - 17:00 GMT +0
Although they’re never far from the beach, Mallorca will be trying to ensure they don’t head there too early having already reached the 40-point mark which is typically associated with safety. The Pirates suffered their first loss in over a month against Atlético Madrid in midweek, with head coach Javier Aguirre blaming a “lack of concentration and bad decisions” for his team’s 3-1 defeat in the capital.
A swift return home should suit Mallorca as they bid to get back to winning ways given they’ve lost just one of their last ten matches (W6, D3) on their own turf in La Liga (LL) . They’ve accumulated an impressive 63% of their points at home, a strong return they’ll be confident of improving against Athletic Bilbao given their solid H2H record as the hosts (W14, D10, L8).
Athletic came to town after a particularly painful defeat to Sevilla on Thursday evening, a match they controlled for long periods before eventually conceding a stoppage-time penalty as they went down 1-0. Boss Ernesto Valverde said there’s “no room for regret” over those dropped points as his side continues their hunt for a European finish, something they’re not guaranteed with a top-seven finish thanks to Osasuna’s progression to the Copa del Rey final.
The Lions start this round three points adrift of the top six with just seven games remaining, so they’ll need to start making inroads into that gap as quickly as possible. An away assignment perhaps comes at the perfect time as Athletic have won each of their last three league games on the road, but they haven’t managed four successive away victories in LL this century!
📋 Players to watch: Mallorca’s Kang-in Lee has seen each of his five strikes this term arrive after half-time. An away specialist, Athletic starlet Nico Williams has seen seven of his nine goals this season come on the road.
⚡ Hot stat: Mallorca home matches average just 1.8 goals per game, the lowest in the division.
Sevilla vs Girona - Match Preview
⚽ 1 May 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0
The appointment of 62-year-old Spanish journeyman José Luis Mendilibar has so far been a stroke of genius from Sevilla, as Mendilibar has steered them not only to their longest undefeated period (W4, D1) of this La Liga (LL) season, but also into the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League. That has translated into an impressive seven games without a loss in his one-month tenure, and a ten-point buffer from the relegation zone heading into this round.
Some luck fell Sevilla’s way when last round’s 1-0 win away to Athletic Bilbao came courtesy of a 90th-minute penalty. But seeing as how they are yet to lose a LL game at home to any club ranked below ninth-placed Vallecano at the start of this round (W5, D3), Sevilla has every reason to be confident of avenging January’s 2-1 loss at Girona, particularly with six wins from eight LL home games in 2023 (D1, L1) further highlighting how far they have come since that previous meeting.
Girona boosted their ambitions of eclipsing their highest-ever top-flight finish (tenth in their LL debut 2017/18) as they impressively beat Real Madrid 4-2 last time out in what was their third LL win over the Spanish giants from six attempts (D1, L2). Starting this round eight points adrift of the top six, European football could still be within reach if they can build upon that momentum on the run home.
Yet closing that gap is going to require them to take plenty of points from their final four away trips, and on the road, they recently came back down to earth after following a scoreless draw at Camp Nou with a loss to lowly Valladolid. Whilst their superior position in the table to Sevilla might suggest they have an advantage, Girona’s LL away record against current bottom-half opposition (W1, D2, L5) leaves a lot to be desired.
📋 Players to watch: Good luck charm Lucas Ocampos has now won his last ten competitive goalscoring appearances following his successful spot kick during the week. While Girona’s Taty Castellanos became the first player since 1947 to score four goals in a LL game against Real Madrid last time out!
⚡ Hot stat: Only the top three clubs in the standings have suffered fewer 2+ goal margin losses than Girona (two) this LL season.
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