It was always likely to be a difficult start to the season for Athletic Bilbao after they lost manager Ernesto Valverde to Barcelona, and so has proved the case, but things are unlikely to get much easier for them as Sunday evening sees them welcome a buoyant Villarreal side to San Mames, with the team from Castellon on an impressive run since sacking manager Fran Escriba.
Having spent the last six years coaching Athletic's youth team, Jose Ziganda was promoted this summer to take over from Valvderde, yet so far the side have been extremely poor.
Six defeats from their opening 11 matches, and just one win in their last eight league games are worrying statistics, although perhaps of more concern is the team's lack of spark or creativity.
New Villarreal boss Javi Calleja has overseen four wins and a draw during his five matches in charge, and although the Yellow Submarine have the firepower to cause Athletic some problems, the Basques have traditionally been extremely strong at home and dabblebet offer them at 5/4 (2.20) to claim all three points.
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Given the respective form of the two sides, there will surely be some interest in the price for an away win, while also worthy of consideration is backing Villarreal to net over 1.5 goals at 15/8 (2.88); this bet has paid out in six of Villarreal's last eight matches in all competitions, while this season Athletic have conceded two goals at home against both leaders Barca and fourth placed Atletico Madrid.
Fifth-placed Villarreal therefore will feel they have every chance of getting among the goals, and in Cedric Bakambu they boast one of the most impressive and in-form strikers in La Liga this season.
Therefore, backing the visitors who will be full of confidence to net twice against the out of sorts hosts looks like a strong selection.