Time: 8:00 PM
Venue: Estadio San Mamés (Bilbao)
Athletic Bilbao will be disappointed with their return of just ten points from their seven La Liga (LL) fixtures so far (W2, D4, L1), especially after going unbeaten in their first four league fixtures (W2, D2) this season. The hosts would’ve been looking to kick on after that start, but losing four points by conceding in the 96th and 95th minutes respectively in their last two league matches, means that they’re only just keeping pace with current top-half sides at present.
Athletic love playing on Fridays though, having lost just once in nine LL matches to open the weekend (W4, D4). However, now winless in their last five LL Basque derbies (D3, L2), they’ll need to be at their best here to obtain victory, especially after winning just two of their last six home league fixtures against their matchday opponents (D3, L1).
After losing all five opening LL fixtures by an aggregate score of 11-1, opponents Alavés arrive here on the back of an early contender for LL upset of the season as manager Javier Calleja masterminded a 1-0 win over defending champions Atlético Madrid last time out. That result will be a huge confidence boost for Alavés, who produced just their second clean sheet in 13 LL fixtures in that clash.
‘The Glorious one’ seem to save their best for meetings with Athletic, preventing them from scoring in LL last season by securing a 0-0 away draw and a home 1-0 victory. Add to that the fact that they’ve only lost two of the previous 12 LL H2H encounters (W5, D5), and you wouldn’t put a result past the visitors here.
Players to watch: Athletic captain Iker Muniain has three assists in three home LL fixtures this season, while new Alavés recruit Mamadou Sylla scored 64% of his league goals after half-time last season (including playoffs).
- Ath Bilbao’s form in last 5 matches: DLDWW.
- Alaves’ form in last 5 matches: WLLLLL