Osasuna vs Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao’s hopes of returning to European competition are on the line as they head to the Estadio El Sadar to meet Osasuna in midweek La Liga action.
Osasuna had high expectations for a long-awaited European finish not long ago before a disappointing run of three defeats from their last four La Liga games (W1) condemned them to another mid-table finish. A lack of firepower saw ‘Los Rojillos’ fail to score in all three losses in that sequence, including a 3-0 romping at the hands of Atletico Madrid over the weekend. In stark contrast to their poor recent form, Jagoba Arrasate’s men have excelled at home, winning three of their last four league matches at El Sadar (L1), with each win seeing them score at least twice. But Bilbao’s upcoming visit to Pamplona could threaten that run, considering Osasuna have lost five of their last six top-flight H2Hs as hosts (W1), conceding at least twice four times.
Meanwhile, Athletic Bilbao’s quest to secure European qualification for the first time since 2016/17 saw a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel last weekend as a 2-1 home win over Celta Vigo ended their underwhelming four-game winless streak in La Liga (D1, L3). But the visitors cannot rest easy, with eighth-placed Girona lagging only one point behind ahead of the kick-off. Moreover, after three straight league victories on the road, Ernesto Valverde’s men have gone back-to-back away matches without winning (D1, L1), most recently slumping to a dreadful 5-1 defeat at Villarreal. Connoisseurs of action-packed football may enjoy this fixture, considering each of Bilbao’s last five La Liga trips has seen both teams on the scoresheet.