Preview: Cadiz vs. Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao head into Monday’s fixture with Cadiz looking to extend their unbeaten record in La Liga to three matches.

While the visitors have put together a strong start to the season, the home side have suffered successive defeats without scoring a goal.

Match preview

Ernesto Valverde pictured on January 9, 2020

Having been presented with an opening double-header at home to Mallorca and Valencia, new head coach Ernesto Valverde knew that he had the opportunity to make a fast start to his second spell at the club.

A goalless draw in the first fixture was far from ideal, but a bounce-back 1-0 triumph over Valencia has laid the foundations for their promising beginning to continue on Monday night.

As it stands, it appears that goals may be a problem, although that matters little right now with Athletic one of three teams yet to concede at the other end.

Without being too disrespectful to their upcoming opponents, Athletic have been presented with a dream run of early games, and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that they could be sitting handily in the top four come the start of October.

However, fail to take advantage of their next five games and facing the likes of Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Villarreal in the space of the next five matches will become increasingly more difficult.

From Cadiz’s perspective, they desperate need a response to losing their first two outings to Real Sociedad and Osasuna.

Although they were not favourites to prevail in either fixture, they each represented opportunities to get at least a point on the board, and they are now playing catch-up in a bid to move clear of bottom spot.

Ending 2021-22 with eight points from five games feels a long time ago now, leaving Sergio Gonzalez to try to find solutions in his squad and maybe elsewhere with the transfer window shutting on Thursday.

In the corresponding game last season, Athletic emerged victorious by a 3-2 scoreline, surging into a 3-0 lead before almost being pegged back by their hosts.

Team News

Real Valladolid manager Sergio Gonzalez pictured on January 2020

Cadiz will have to make do without Tomas Alcaron after he was sent off in the defeat to Osasuna last time out.

Jose Mari should be recalled in midfield in his place, but Alberto Perea may be in a position to return on the right-hand side after a minor injury.

Barring any further injury issues, Valverde could be prepared to name the same Athletic XI which started against Valencia.

Defender Inigo Martinez is expected to miss out again due to knee problems, while backup goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala is also yet to prove his fitness after a finger injury.

Although Ander Herrera should return to his former club in the coming days, he will not come into contention for this match.

Cadiz possible starting lineup:
Ledesma; Zaldua, Hernandez, Chust, Espino; Perea, Fali, Mari, Arzamendia; Perez, Lozano

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Marcos, Vivian, Alvarez, Berchiche; Sancet, Vesga; N.Williams, Muniain, Berenguer; I.Williams

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