This is our Athletic Bilbao v Valencia preview for this weekends match.

Athletic Bilbao host Valencia this weekend in what will be an intriguing match. While these lesser lights do not grab the headlines as often as their counterparts in Barcelona and Madrid, they can produce very entertaining football as well.

Recent Form

Valencia seem to have steadied the ship after a very poor start to the season and chalked up a third straight win when beating Rayo Vallecano 1-0 last weekend. They now visit Athletic Bilbao who suffered a reverse when losing 2-0 at Granada on Monday night. Valencia certainly have the edge on previous meetings between the two sides having won seven of the last ten.

The pressure had been mounting on Valencia boss Mirolsav Djukic after three league defeats and an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Swansea in the Europa League. His side have responded with wins over Sevilla and Granada and a goal by Jonas was enough to grab three vital points at the Mestalla and set up an intriguing clash with Bilbao.

The Catalan club back are now looking much healthier in sixth place but there was an element of fortune about their most recent victory. Saul Niguez was caught in possession by Jonas in the 37th minute but Valencia missed several opportunities to kill the game off and had to endure some late pressure.

Trashorras should have hit the target with a header before Adrian Gonzalez squandered a great opportunity by blazing it into the stands. Alhassane Bangoura shot wide from 12 yards and Canales also failing to make the most of a great chance. The final whistle came as a great relief to Djukic and to the anxious home fans.

Athletic Bilbao have made a promising start to their campaign under Ernesto Valverde and a 2-1 victory over Real Betis took them above Valencia into fifth place. They fell behind to a close range goal from Jorge before goals by Oscar de Marcos and Mikel San Jose took their record to four wins from six games under the former Valencia boss.
A victory on Monday night would have lifted Athletic into the top four. After a goalless first period, midfielder Ander Herrera brought down Yacine Brahimi in the area and El Arabi fired Granada ahead. The game was over as a contest just after the hour when Pape Diakhate nodded on a corner for El Arabi to grab a decisive second goal. Athletic could not find a way back into the game with a header from Gaizka Toquero flashing wide of the target.

Head To Head

Playing at home, Athletic Bilbao have a reasonable record against Valencia. They have won 10 , drawn 4 and lost 5. However the last 5 have resulted in 3 wins for Valencia and 2 for Athletic Bilbao.

Conclusion

Bilbao will have really fancied their chances in this fixture a couple of weeks ago but Valencia’s recent revival must have raised doubts in their minds. Borja Ekiza and Enric Saborit were left out of the squad for the midweek game against Granada despite returning to full training. Kike Sola and Mikel Balenziaga are not yet fit to return. However despite this, I expect Athletic Bilbao to win or at the very least get a draw against their rivals.