Thursday, April 7
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Feb 7, 2022 at 8pm UK at San Mames
Athletic Bilbao
2 - 1
Sancet (5'), Martinez (16')
Vesga (62'), Petxarroman (87'), Martinez (90+3')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Vilhena (3')
Morlanes (15'), Lopez (70'), Gil (75')

Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Espanyol - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Espanyol - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's La Liga clash between Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Athletic Bilbao will be bidding to make it four straight wins in all competitions when they resume their La Liga campaign at home to Espanyol on Monday night.

The hosts are currently ninth in the table, boasting 31 points from their 22 league matches this term, while Espanyol sit 13th, four points behind their opponents in this match.

Match preview

Athletic booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey on Thursday evening courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid, with Alex Berenguer scoring the only goal of the contest in the final exchanges.

Having also beaten Barcelona in this season's Copa del Rey, there is no question that the Basque outfit are deserving of a spot in the final four, and they are also unbeaten in their last three league games, overcoming Osasuna and Rayo Vallecano, in addition to sharing the points with Alaves.

A record of seven wins, 10 draws and five defeats from 22 matches has brought Athletic 31 points and left them in ninth spot in the table, only five points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid.

Marcelino's side, who finished 10th in La Liga last season, have struggled for consistency in front of their own supporters this term, winning four, drawing two and losing four of their 10 home league fixtures.

The Lions are unbeaten against Espanyol in Spain's top flight since November 2018, although three of the last four La Liga matches between the two sides have finished all square.

Espanyol, meanwhile, have not been in action since suffering a 4-1 home defeat to Real Betis on January 21, which made it three league matches without a victory.

The Catalan outfit have actually only won one of their last five in Spain's top flight, which came away to Valencia at the end of December, and they have lost at home to Elche and Real Betis since the turn of the year.

The White and Blues have still enjoyed somewhat of a successful campaign back at this level of football, though, picking up 27 points from their 22 matches courtesy of seven wins and six draws.

Espanyol currently occupy 13th position in the table, nine points clear of the relegation zone, while they could potentially move into the top half if they win on Monday and other results go for them this weekend.

Vicente Moreno's side, who are the reigning Segunda Division champions, have held Athletic to draws in their last two encounters, but they suffered a 3-0 loss on their last visit to San Mames in October 2019.

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W

Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Espanyol La Liga form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L

Espanyol form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L

Team News

Athletic could be without the services of Unai Vencedor and Nico Williams on Monday through injury, but the home side are otherwise in excellent shape heading into the contest.

Berenguer's late goal against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey could earn the Spaniard a start, while Mikel Balenziaga is pushing to feature at left-back for the home side.

Head coach Marcelino could also decide to freshen his midfield on Monday, with Oier Zarraga potentially replacing Mikel Vesga to feature alongside Dani Garcia.

As for Espanyol, Yangel Herrera is a doubt through injury, while the visitors will definitely be without leading goalscorer Raul de Tomas through suspension.

De Tomas's absence, which is a huge blow for the Catalan outfit, could open the door for Wu Lei to feature alongside Loren Moron in the final third of the field.

Head coach Moreno is expected to make alterations from the disappointing loss to Betis before the break, with Adri Embarba also pushing to feature in a wide area.

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Lekue, Vivian, Martinez, Balenziaga; Berenguer, Zarraga, D Garcia, Muniain; R Garcia, I Williams

Espanyol possible starting lineup:
Diego Lopez; Gil, Gomez, Cabrera, Pedrosa; Embarba, Darder, Morlanes, Puado; Moron, Wu Lei

We say: Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Espanyol

Athletic will be full of confidence following their victory over Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey, and we are backing the Basque club to win once again here. The absence of De Tomas is a huge blow for Espanyol, who could come up just short at San Mames on Monday night.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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La Liga Table
1Real Madrid30216361263569
3Atletico MadridAtletico30176757372057
5Real Betis30165954361853
6Real Sociedad3014973029151
8Athletic Bilbao30111183529644
11Celta Vigo3099123434036
13Rayo Vallecano2996143136-533
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