Villarreal vs Athletic Bilbao Betting Tips, Preview & Predictions
In a sentence: With just eight domestic clashes remaining, Villarreal head the Europa League places and must overcome an unpredictable Athletic Bilbao side who have enjoyed good moments, but also flattered to deceive for large periods this season.
Last time: The teams played out an entertaining 1-1 draw back in November at the vociferous San Mamés arena. Manu Trigueros missed his first-half spot kick but soon made amends to give the Yellow Submarine a deserved lead, before the inevitable onslaught saw the evergreen Aritz Aduriz equalise in the final 15 minutes for the Basques.
This time: Villarreal are 17/20 to triumph with Athletic at 16/5 and the draw is 5/2.
You might remember: A stormy league encounter eight years ago. Javi Martinez, Diego Godin and Pablo Orbaiz all received their marching orders in stoppage time for their roles in the mass brawl that ensued and it was 10-man Villarreal who ultimately secured the 2-1 win.
Villarreal CF's Last Six:
Won: 3 Drawn: 0 Lost: 3
This La Liga preview opens with the hosts. Yellow Submarine boss Javier Calleja will be without the services of influential skipper Bruno Soriano who has missed the entirety of the campaign. The 10-cap Spain international has suffered from ongoing knee issues and there is no indication of a return date on the horizon.
Highly rated right-back Mario Gaspar has led the side in his absence. Milan-owned striker Carlos Bacca should once again lead the line for the hosts.
Athletic Bilbao's Last Six:
Won: 2 Drawn: 2 Lost: 2
Iker Muniain is back in the first team picture after making a comeback from his own serious knee injury at the end of March. The diminutive winger has been sorely missed after a six-month layoff and will offer something different once he regains match rhythm.
Real Madrid target Kepa Arrizabalaga will take his place between the sticks and looks a good bet to travel to Russia as David de Gea’s deputy.
Villarreal are on track to repeat last year’s fifth place finish, despite the recent setback against relegation candidates Malaga. The modest outfit continue to punch above their weight in Spain’s top division, shocking the champions at Santiago Bernabéu in January and, alongside Barcelona and Espanyol, are part of an exclusive trio to have toppled Atletico Madrid.
Meanwhile, it has been a mixed bag for the Basques and the last six results have been a microcosm of their campaign, picking up two victories, a couple of losses and draws against Valencia and Celta Vigo. The frustrating inconsistencies do not end here. Between gameweeks four to 11, the Red-Whites were on the losing side a whopping six times, but followed this up with a stunning 10-game unbeaten run and this sequence of results is the reason why Bilbao’s season will go down as a big disappointment.
Football predictions for this contest highlight the Yellow Submarine at 17/20 to chalk up a 15th success from 31 matches. The home side are strong at Estadio de la Cerámica, earning maximum points on eight occasions here and this is the expected outcome provided they approach their capable guests with caution.
Further La Liga predictions for Monday evening’s battle reveal Athletic at 16/5 to maintain their fluctuating form. The Basques, who are notoriously stronger in Bilbao, last won away on 22 December, but a visiting scalp does have a degree of promise in the latest football betting predictions market.
The stalemate is 5/2 but Villarreal have only drawn five fixtures all campaign and only once in their last 11. With hopes of a top 10 finish still possible, Athletic could do with maximum points to boost their chances.
Twelve-goal Bacca is the 4/1 favourite to strike first in this La Liga preview. The Colombian seems settled in Spain after an awkward spell with the Rossoneri, while partner Enes Unal is available at 12/2 to strike anytime.
Aduriz is 27/11 to bag the final effort and the 37-year-old is showing no sign of relenting. If the Basque hero gets decent service, this could well be worth a little flutter.
Predicted Score: Villarreal CF 3 - 2 Athletic Bilbao
Look out for:
Inaki Williams. The forward’s pace will be an asset for the Basques and direct opponent Daniele Bonera could struggle if isolated. He is 21/2 to open proceedings.
Over 2.5 goals in the first half is 10/3, while the both teams to score predictions offer is evens.
It’s a long shot, but:
An Athletic 5-1 success is a mammoth 500/1 in the football score predictions market, and should appeal to anyone looking for something a bit more audacious.
Written by Nick Valerio
Nick Valerio is a football fanatic whose writing has appeared online and in print. A Manchester United and Roma fan, Nick names Francesco Totti as his idol and Fabio Grosso’s World Cup-winning penalty in 2006 as his favourite moment in sport.