Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Osasuna

Athletic Bilbao will be bidding to keep the pressure on the top four in Spain’s top flight when they resume their campaign at home to Osasuna on Monday night.

The Basque outfit are currently fifth in the table, two points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid, while Osasuna sit ninth, boasting 23 points from their opening 15 matches of the campaign.

Match preview

Nico Williams celebrates scoring for Athletic Bilbao in January 2022

Athletic have been in impressive form during the 2022-23 campaign, boasting a record of seven wins, four draws and four defeats from 15 matches to collect 25 points, which has left them in fifth position.

As it stands, Ernesto Valverde’s side are two points behind fourth-placed Atletico, although it is likely that the picture would have changed by the time that this match kicks off.

Athletic were in Copa del Rey action last week, recording a 6-1 victory over Eldense to book their spot in the last-16 stage of the competition, where they have been drawn against Espanyol.

The Basque side played out a goalless draw with Real Betis in the league last time out, meanwhile, which made it four points from their last two matches in Spain’s top flight.

The Lions have not finished fourth in La Liga since 2013-14, so it would be a brilliant achievement if they were able to navigate their way to a Champions League finish this term.

Athletic have won their last two league games against Osasuna, including a 2-0 victory in the corresponding match during the 2021-22 campaign.

Osasuna's Kike Garcia celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on October 2, 2022

Osasuna, meanwhile, were also in Copa del Rey action last week, recording a 2-1 victory over Gimnastic Tarragona to book their spot in the round of 16, where they will take on Real Betis.

Jagoba Arrasate’s side suffered a 2-0 defeat to Real Sociedad in the league last weekend, though, which has left them in ninth position in the table on 23 points.

Osasuna are only two points behind fifth-placed Athletic ahead of this match, while they sit just four points behind Atletico, who are in action against Barcelona on Sunday night.

Los Rojillos, who have finished 10th, 11th and 10th in their last three La Liga seasons, suffered a 2-1 defeat to Barcelona in their final match ahead of the 2022 World Cup, meaning that their last victory in the league was away to Celta Vigo at the start of November.

Osasuna were last victorious at San Mames in February 2020, and Arrasate’s side will be eyeing their eighth league victory of the campaign on Monday evening, which could potentially move them into the top six.

Team News

Athletic Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez pictured in April 2022

Athletic could be without both Inigo Martinez and Ander Capa on Monday night, as the pair are doubts due to muscular problems, with late fitness tests needed to determine their availability.

Ander Herrera is available, though, as he was back on the bench in the Copa del Rey against Eldense.

Head coach Valverde will make changes from the side that took to the field in the cup, with Gorka Guruzeta set to return to lead the line, while Dani Garcia, Inaki Williams, Oscar de Marcos and Unai Simon should also be among those to be back in the XI for this match.

As for Osasuna, Unai Garcia will be missing through suspension due to the yellow card that he picked up against Real Sociedad last time out in the league.

Nacho Vidal is also an injury doubt, but the visitors are otherwise in good shape, and the XI is expected to be a similar to the one that took to the field against Real Sociedad.

There will be changes from the side that started in the Copa del Rey, with Aimar Oroz, Moi Gomez and Juan Cruz set to be among those to return to the XI here.

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; De Marcos, Vivian, Yeray, Yuri; D Garcia, Vesga; I Williams, Sancet, N Williams; Guruzeta

Osasuna possible starting lineup:
Fernandez; Pena, Aridane, D Garcia, Cruz, Sanchez; Moncayola, Torro, Gomez; Avila, Oroz

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