Valencia vs Athletic Bilbao Match Preview & Predictions

Valencia vs Athletic Bilbao preview

Valencia vs Athletic Bilbao match preview and predictions for Saturday’s LaLiga match. Read on for the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as two Spanish football giants clash at Mestalla.

  • DATE: Saturday 12th December 2020
  • KICK-OFF: 14:00 (local time)
  • VENUE: Mestalla

Valencia vs Athletic Bilbao Preview

Valencia vs Athletic Bilbao team news

The early game in LaLiga on Saturday sees two of Spain’s biggest clubs meet. Right now though, neither Valencia nor Athletic Club look like they are on course for anything better than a mid-table finish, not good enough really for clubs of their size and stature.

Valencia’s problems are well documented and this is not an easy job for Javi Gracia. They come into this game having won just one of their last eight games, although that solitary victory was bizarrely a 4-1 triumph over defending champions Real Madrid.

The more positive spin is that it’s only one defeat in five matches and we have seen more evidence of battling qualities in this Valencia team than we have done for a while. They’ve ground out draws at Eibar and Alaves in recent weeks. Gracia is starting to get closer to settling on a preferred system and starting XI, something that was always going to take some time following the many summer departures.

Gaizka Garitano didn’t have as many summer comings and goings to adapt to, although he might have hoped to see a bit more activity in terms of freshening things up and increasing their goal threat. Athletic have looked a bit more dangerous in the final third over the past couple of months which has seen them claim three impressive home wins.

However their winning streak at San Mames came to a sudden halt last time out as they were beaten 2-0 by Celta Vigo. That result once again piles the pressure back on Garitano with Athletic down in 14th place heading into this one, only two points above the relegation zone.

Check out our match previews for every game in LaLiga this weekend here!

Head to Head

  • Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 3 Valencia Wins, 1 Athletic Win, 2 Draws.
  • Valencia have won 4 of the last 5 meetings at Mestalla.
  • The exception was a 2-0 Athletic win here last season.
  • The last 5 meetings have produced just 7 goals in total.

Team News

Hugo Guillamon’s ban is over but he remains a doubt with a hamstring problem. Valencia may also be without Lee Kang-In, Kevin Gameiro and Jose Gaya.

Athletic have Inigo Martinez back from suspension and he should slot into the heart of defence with no fresh injury problems for the Basques.

Predicted Valencia Starting Lineup:

Domenech – Lato, Mangala, Gabriel, Wass – Guedes, Soler, Racic, Musah – Gomez, Vallejo (4-4-2)

Predicted Athletic Starting Lineup:

Simon – Yuri, Martinez, Yeray, Capa – Vesga, Vencedor – Berenguer, Muniain, Williams – Raul Garcia (4-2-3-1)

Valencia vs Athletic Bilbao Predictions

Score Prediction: Valencia 1-1 Athletic Bilbao

These are two flawed teams and neither really offer enough to suggest they will have the edge here. Valencia are perhaps the more likely but with the likes of Lee Kang-In, Kevin Gameiro and Jose Gaya expected to be missing, they may just lack the cutting edge needed to break down what is still a relatively solid if not spectacular Athletic side.

LaLiga Betting Tips (18+)

View our betting picks for this match and all the others in the Spanish top flight this weekend by following LaLiga Expert for free on Tipstrr. You can view our profit/loss stats there.

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Spanish football writer
About Mark Sochon 1983 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid, writing mostly about Spanish football. His work has been published by the likes of Guardian Sport & World Soccer. Contact: marksochon (at)