Valencia v Athletic Club – Betting Preview
The form and mood in Valencia are incredibly low and following consecutive losses in Valladolid, Madrid, and last weekend Girona, they could now finish this round inside the relegation zone.
Gattuso was sacked within 48 hours from the Valladolid loss two weeks ago but so far, there has been no positive reaction. There is yet to be a permanent manager installed and so instability continues while interim boss Voro Gonzalez keeps charge of the team.
‘Voro’ is extremely well integrated into the club but as outlined by results and performances so far, it doesn’t guarantee any improvement at this club which is in freefall.
Valencia is missing Gabriel Paulista who is serving a three-game suspension, and he is joined by Hugo Guillamón, who is also now banned.
Voro also cannot use long-term absences Jaume and Nico González, while Thierry Correia also remains out, he is the most important of those missing to injury.
On a positive note, Kluivert is almost certainly going to get the nod to be available if not as a starter, then as a sub.
Athletic Club got a much-needed boost to their season with a massive 4-1 win at home to relegation-threatened Cadiz last Friday evening.
Top four has become a distant aim for Athletic Bilbao, but they start the weekend on the heels of 4th spot and will aim for a win here.
Realistically, 6th place is their main aim and so a draw is not a bad result in this grand stadium.
Motivation is high to win here and regain some momentum they had before the World Cup, they would normally respect Valencia and take a draw from this match, but right now they know it’s a perfect time to go for the victory.
Ernesto Valverde remains without the key figure of Inaki Williams as well as former captain Inigo Martinez. Both are notable losses, but the speedster Williams is particularly harmful.
On top of those key men missing, Yuri the most balanced left back is banned for this contest while midfielder Herrera is absent due to injury.
Lekue will cover fullback, he is more two-footed and attacking, but weaker defensively.
Looking at the 1×2 market first. The slight favourite for this game is Athletic Club @ 2.55. It makes sense the Basque are the jolly, but I wouldn’t consider them for a second being such clear favourites with their negative team news, plus the fact Valencia, albeit in bad form, will put up a proper fight in front of their fans. Valencia is @ 3.00 and the draw is @ 3.20. I could see a 1-0 or 0-0 in this match.
Moving onto the Asian handicap betting for this contest. As outlined above, I do not think the Basque deserve such respect right now even with Valencia so unstable. Valencia +0.25 with the draw (as a half win) onside @ 1.77 is a preference. A weakened Athletic -0.25 @ 2.11 may not enjoy being the jollies here.
Looking at The Under/Over goal line last of all which looks correct. Valencia is likely to dig in and play ugly, they don’t want to lose the fans’ support totally, and so I see them trying very hard to make this a physical and tight encounter. Over 2.25 is @ 1.97 while the slight preference is for Under 2.25, @ 1.85.