Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs Osasuna – predictions, team news, line-ups

Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde on March 3, 2024

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s La Liga clash between Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Athletic Bilbao will look to remain in the hunt for a top-four finish in La Liga when they host Osasuna in San Mames Saturday evening.

Ernesto ValverdeOsasuna’s side are fifth in the table, six points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid, while Osasuna sit in 13th place, with 39 points from 34 league matches this season.

Match Preview

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Athletic would move to within three points of fourth-placed Atletico if they manage to win against Osasuna on Saturday night, but Diego SimeoneThe Madrid team hosts Celta Vigo on Sunday afternoon and will certainly expect to triumph in this particular competition.

It will be difficult for Valverde’s side to make the top four from this position, but they must keep Atletico honest, and the Basque side will look to make it back-to-back wins on Saturday, having recorded a 2- 0. victory over Getafe in their last match on May 3.

Athletic haven’t claimed a top-four finish in La Liga for 10 years, but a return to the Europa League next season would still be seen as a positive campaign, having finished eighth in their last two seasons .

The Lions have not finished in the top seven since 2016-17 and that has already been achieved at this stage of the season.

Valverde’s side have been excellent at home this season, picking up 38 points from 17 matches, but Osasuna have been relatively solid on their travels, securing 18 points from 17 games.

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Osasuna have finished 10th, 11th, 10th and seventh in their four La Liga campaigns since promotion to the top flight from the second tier in 2018-19.

Last season (seventh) proved to be their best result since 2006, but there has been a decline this season, with a total of 39 points from 34 matches, putting them in 13th position in the table.

Los Rojillos will come into this match on the back of four straight defeats, losing to Valencia, Rayo Vallecano, Granada and Real Betis in April, scoring just one goal in the process.

Osasuna have not won since late March against Almeria, and they will be desperate to finish the season strong, as the head coach has indicated. Jagoba Arrasate prepares to step down at the end of the campaign.

Arrasate has been in charge of El Sadar since 2018, but is leaving this summer in search of a new challenge, with his final match in charge coming against Villarreal on May 25.

Athletic Bilbao’s form in La Liga:

Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):

Osasuna form in La Liga:

Team News

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Athletic had both Yeray Alvarez And Aitor Paredes sent off against Getafe last time out, so the defensive pair will be sidelined this weekend due to suspension.

Five players are also missing from the Basque squad due to injury concerns, including Gorka Guruzeta, Oihan Sancet, Dani Viviane, Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta And Youri Berchiche unavailable for selection.

With Yeray and Paredes suspended and Vivian injured, Athletic have a big problem in the middle of their defense, and it’s possible that Bénat Prados And Imanol Garcia de Albeniz could feature as two central defenders against Osasuna this weekend.

Visitors, for their part, also have selection problems, with Unai Garcia, Me Gomez, David Garcia, Ante Budimir, Aimar Oroz And Kike Barja all set to miss due to injury.

There will also be no Jon Moncayola for Osasuna on Saturday, with the midfielder suspended following his red card in the first half of the 2-0 defeat to Real Betis last time out.

Lucas Torro is likely to replace Moncayola this weekend, but Ruben Pena, Raúl Garcia And Rubén Garcia are all expected to retain their place in the starting XI for this competition.

Possible starting line-up of Athletic Bilbao:
Simon; De Marcos, Prados, Garcia de Albeniz, Lekue; Vesga, Herrera; Berenguer, U Gomez, N Williams; I Williams

Osasuna possible starting lineup:
Herrera; Areso, Catena, Herrando, Mojica; Rubén García, Torro, Munoz, Ibanez, Pena; Raúl Garcia

We say: Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Osasuna

Both teams have selection issues heading into this match, and this could be a very tricky match for Athletic, who will have a patched-up defense. The Basque team must win to stay in the top four, however, and we’re backing them to fight their way to an important three points.

For data analysis of most likely outcomes, scores and more for this match, please click here.

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