Villarreal vs Athletic Club Predictions & Match Preview

Villarreal vs Athletic Bilbao predictions

Villarreal vs Athletic Club predictions and match preview for Saturday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for analysis, team news and predicted lineups as two European hopefuls clash.

DateSaturday 13th May 2023
Kick-Off18:30 (CEST)
StadiumCeramica
CompetitionLaLiga

Villarreal vs Athletic Club Preview


Villarreal stadium

The Ceramica is the setting for an important game in the race for European positions in LaLiga this weekend. 7 points separate the sides which suggests they aren’t direct rivals but an Athletic win would potentially make things a bit more interesting with the visitors needing a really strong end to the season to have any chance of Europa League rather than Conference League qualification.

A place in next season’s UEFA Europa League is the minimum that Villarreal should be looking at, although they won’t have given up on a top four finish just yet. Finishing 4th rather than 5th may have a big impact on their ability to compete in this summer’s transfer market while holding onto key players in what’s likely to be quite an active transfer window at the Ceramica.

They are 7 points off 4th placed Real Sociedad heading into this weekend though and that gap may have grown to 10 points by the time this one kicks off. Villarreal’s form has been pretty good overall though with 7 wins from their last 11 games in LaLiga. Despite the absence of striker Gerard Moreno, who is now fit, they’ve been scoring freely with 4-2 and 3-1 wins in their most recent home games.

That’s an ominous sign for an Athletic Club defence which is severely hampered by injuries here. Ernesto Valverde could well be without his three main centre-backs here with Dani Vivian suspended and Inigo Martinez injured again. Yeray is also a major doubt so Aitor Paredes looks certain to start and either veteran Mikel Balenziaga or midfielder Dani Garcia may have to fill in as the other centre-back.

There are problems at the other end too with Athletic only managing to score once in their last three league games, also only collecting one point as their European challenge has faded. Damaging 1-0 home defeats against Sevilla and Betis have seen them drop below Girona in the standings but they are still one of the sides best placed to clinch the Conference League place.


Team News & Possible Lineups


Villarreal

INJUREDCoquelin, Morales, Albiol
DOUBTFULFemenia
BANNED

Possible XI: Reina – Pedraza, Torres, Mandi, Foyth – Lo Celso, Parejo, Capoue – Pino, Jackson, Chukwueze (4-3-3)

Coach: Quique Setien

Athletic Club

INJUREDMorcillo, Inigo Martinez
DOUBTFULYeray, De Marcos
BANNEDDani Vivian

Possible XI: Simon – Yuri, Balenciaga, Paredes, De Marcos – Dani Garcia, Vesga, – N. Williams, Sancet, I. Williams – Guruzeta (4-2-3-1)

Coach: Ernesto Valverde

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Score Prediction: Villarreal 3-1 Athletic Club


Athletic’s central defensive problems could leave them very vulnerable here to a free-scoring Villarrreal attack. Quique Setien must decide whether to stick with in-form Nicolas Jackson or revert to Gerard Moreno up front, but either way they are capable of causing big problems for the away team and should win this game.


PLEASE NOTE – Our LaLiga predictions and previews are not betting tips! No profits are guaranteed if you’re using them to bet on Spanish football. If you are gambling, do so responsibly and never stake more than you can afford to lose. BeGambleAware.

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About Mark Sochon 2054 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has been writing about Spanish football since 2014 and regularly attends and covers matches across Spain. His work has also been published by various newspapers and websites including These Football Times, World Soccer and Guardian Sport. Available for freelance work: marksochon (at) hotmail.co.uk