Athletic Club vs Rayo Vallecano predictions and match preview for Tuesday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for the head-to-head, team news, predicted lineups and fantasy football picks as two sides who have made strong starts meet.
|Tuesday 21st September 2021
|22:00 (local time)
Athletic Club vs Rayo Vallecano Preview
There’s a meeting of two teams who have made positive starts to the season on Tuesday night in Bilbao. With home advantage, Athletic will be the clear favourites but newly promoted Rayo are on a roll and full of confidence right now, so they’ll travel north looking to cause an upset.
Athletic got a 0-0 draw at the weekend against Atletico Madrid to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. In truth it could have been even better with both Inaki Williams and Asier Villalibre missing very clear chances while Unai Simon had a relatively quiet afternoon at the other end. While Marcelino would have been very happy with the display, we also got further evidence as to why Athletic are still just short of being a really top team with their failure to be clinical and provide that killer instinct in the final third letting them down again.
Defensively though, they have looked really good so far this season. It’s just one goal conceded, that coming in the draw with Barcelona on MD2. They’ve the best defensive record in LaLiga as a result. That certainly reflects well on 22 year old centre-back Dani Vivian who hadn’t played a single league minute for Athletic before this season but has been an ever present so far in central defence alongside Inigo Martinez.
This game will be a special occasion for Andoni Iraola. He made over 400 appearances for Athletic Club in LaLiga between 2003 and 2015 and is still remembered fondly in these parts. The Rayo boss is also considered one of the most promising young coaches in Spain and he has only enhanced his reputation so far this season with Rayo defying all the pre-season doubters with an impressive series of performances that has seen them take 7 points from their last 3 games.
On Saturday, they cruised to a 3-0 win over Getafe in Vallecas with recent signing Radamel Falcao coming off the bench to make his debut and he quickly managed to get on the scoresheet with a trademark clinical finish. There will be setbacks ahead you’d imagine but for now Rayo look like they belong at this level and they are causing plenty of problems for their opponents whilst being relatively solid at the back which suggests Athletic might not have this all their own way.
Head to Head
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 4 Athletic Wins, 1 Rayo Win, 1 Draw.
- Athletic have won their last 4 home games against Rayo.
- Rayo’s last victory here was by a 2-1 margin in 2013.
- They’ve only picked up 1 point from their last 5 games against Athletic in LaLiga.
Yeray, Sancet and Yuri continue to be the main absentees for the hosts.
Martin Merquelanz is the only injury doubt for the visitors who may consider handing Falcao a start.
Predicted Athletic Starting Lineup:
Simon – Balenziaga, Martinez, Vivian, De Marcos – Muniain, Dani Garcia, Vencedor, Berenguer – Williams, R. Garcia (4-4-2)
Predicted Rayo Starting Lineup:
Dimitrievski – F. Garcia, Catena, Saveljich, Balliu – Ciss, Comesana – Martin, Trejo, Palazon – Falcao (4-2-3-1)
Athletic Club vs Rayo Vallecano Predictions
Score Prediction: Athletic Club 1-0 Rayo Vallecano
Rayo have been a breath of fresh air so far but it won’t be easy for them to create chances against an Athletic defence that has only let in one goal so far this season. The Basque giants are enjoying having fans back at San Mames and you sense they may just have the edge here.