11 January 2019
An improving Athletic Bilbao side welcome Sevilla to the Estadio San Mames in the first leg of the Copa del Rey Round of 16 looking to extend a five-game unbeaten run in all competitions (W3, D2).
Los Leones come into this meeting after a 2-1 road triumph over Celta Vigo earlier this weekend as they now go in chase of back-to-back wins for the second time this season. Athletic Bilbao’s shaky rearguard has improved over the past five weeks as they’ve gone from three straight clean sheets to two games in which they’ve allowed exactly one goal. However, the Rojiblancos still struggles in the final third, having scored over 1.5 goals per match just twice in their last six competitive outings. An encouraging fact for Gaizka Garitano is that his side beat Sevilla in three consecutive clashes in the Basque Country, winning eight out of last nine H2H meetings with the Andalusians at home.
Meanwhile, the visitors are unbeaten in the previous seven competitive games (W3, D4), with all of these four stalemates ending with the identical 1-1 scoreline. Although they’ve managed to keep a clean sheet just four times in their last ten encounters in all competitions, Los Rojiblancos have conceded under 1.5 goals per match in each, with Tomas Valcik allowing two goals per game only once in his last 15 competitive meetings. Meanwhile, Pablo Machin’s men have found the back of the net in ten of their previous 11 games, scoring over 1.5 goals per match only four times in the process though. Goals have been in short supply in Sevilla’s last ten competitive meetings, with just two of them producing over 2.5 goals.
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