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Primera División

  • February 26, 2012
  • • 11:00
  • • Camp El Madrigal, Villarreal
  • Referee: Ignacio Iglesias
  • • Attendance: 16000
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Villarreal - Athletic Bilbao Preview: Yellow Submarine look to rebound from Mallorca thrashing

Villarreal - Athletic Bilbao Preview: Yellow Submarine look to rebound from Mallorca thrashing

Getty Images

Jose Molina's side desperately need three points to pull themselves further away from the drop zone when they entertain Marcelo Bielsa's Basque outfit at El Madrigal


PROBABLE LINEUPS

VILLARREAL

D Lopez
Gaspar, Gonzalo, Zapata, Oriol
Senna, Soriano
Cani, Valero, Camunas
Ruben
ATHLETIC BILBAO

Iraizoz
Iraola, Martinez, Ekiza, Aurtenetxe
Perez, Iturraspe, Herrera, Susaeta
Toquero, Llorente

Villarreal striker Nilmar is nursing a muscle problem and is doubtful for Sunday lunchtime's Primera Division clash with Athletic Bilbao.

Coach Jose Molina could reshuffle his defence after giving away three goals from set-pieces in the 4-0 hammering at Mallorca last weekend. Defender Angel Lopez could miss out with a stomach bug.

Athletic could be without defender Fernando Amorebieta, who suffered a leg injury in Thursday's Europa League victory over Lokomotiv Moscow, but Javi Martinez returns from suspension.

Coach Marcelo Bielsa will also be forced into making changes in midfield and attack as Oscar de Marcos and Iker Muniain are suspended.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Villarreal have won eight of their last 10 league encounters with Athletic Bilbao.
  • The Yellow Submarine are on a seven-match unbeaten run at El Madrigal in the league (W4 D3).
  • The Valencian club have lost just once at home in the league this season - a 3-0 defeat to Levante in October.
  • Athletic Bilbao have won only thrice on the road in the league this campaign - against Real Sociedad, Sevilla and Rayo Vallecano.
  • The Basque club face English champions Manchester United in the Europa League round of 16 on March 8 and 15.
  • With seven goals, Fernando Llorente (pictured) is the Primera Division's second most prolific goal-getter away from home after Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo (11).

Players to watch

Borja Valero

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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  • 0
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Blessed with good technique and composure on the ball, the 27-year-old is Villarreal's most creative player in midfield. The Spain international's consistent performances this season have attracted the attention of Real Madrid, who are rumoured to be lining up a transfer swoop for the playmaker in the summer.

Llorente

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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With 21 goals under his belt for club and country this season, the Pamplona-born forward has flourished under the tutelage of Bielsa. The 6'4" striker will relish lining up against the Villarreal defence, who have looked less than assured defending aerial crosses.

Editor's Prediction

Athletic come into this lunchtime clash fatigued but encouraged by their midweek heroics in Europe. The hosts, on the other hand, were humbled at Palma last weekend but will fancy their chances here owing to their good run of form at El Madrigal and the fact that Bielsa's men will not be in prime condition, having been involved in a pulsating European tie less than 72 hours earlier.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Villarreal

Athletic Club

Wins
1
3
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Villarreal Club de Fútbol VIL
Villarreal Club de Fútbol Villarreal
Draw
Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
Athletic Club Bilbao Athletic Club
37%
19%
44%

Top 3 Predictions

Villarreal Club de Fútbol VIL
1 - 2
Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
Villarreal Club de Fútbol VIL
0 - 1
Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
Villarreal Club de Fútbol VIL
1 - 1
Athletic Club Bilbao ATH

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