Girona vs Athletic Bilbao: Preview, Team News, Likely Lineups, And Prediction
Pablo Machin’s team have scored 29 goals this season which is the best among newly promoted sides.
Estadi Municipal de Montilivi will entertain a mid-table clash between home side Girona and Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, 4th of February. Jose Munuera is the referee for this fixture.
This season’s La Liga table isn’t what people would have expected at the end of the season, and the prime reason behind this is the form of the newly promoted sides; Getafe and Girona.
Girona are currently in the tenth position in the league table and subsequently have added seven wins, and 7 draws to their bag. The club that is partly owned by City Football Group, owners of Manchester City have surpassed everybody’s expectations by performing with such passion and determination.
They have collected 28 points from 21 games so far with half of the points coming in-front of their own fans while the other half on the road. The hosts for this match will want to make it five wins in 11 at home.
Pablo Machin’s team have scored 29 goals this season which is the best among newly promoted sides. However, a slight kickback is their defense which has let 29 goals in so far.
The team has looked out of sorts for a couple of games at the moment as they came back from 4-1 defeat to Eibar and 2-1 loss to Valencia with a 6-0 thrashing of Las Palmas. But two consecutive draws means that they only have five points in five games.
Athletic Bilbao wouldn’t have perceived to be a point behind Girona at this stage when the season started. But they sit twelfth in league with only 27 points.
The Basque giants started the season on a high drawing one and winning two in first three matches, but then the string of poor performance started for them.
Athletic Bilbao, one of only three sides never to get relegated from the Spanish top flight, had an eight-game run from match-day 4 to match-day 11 where they were able to win just one game losing six on them.
The results have however started to pick up with the side unbeaten in ten consecutive La Liga matches, a form only bettered by table-toppers Barcelona. However, the ten games include seven draws which saw them lose 14 points and as a result, 16 points from 10 games doesn’t look so impressive.
Girona have two consecutive home wins to be confident about but the visitors haven’t lost a game on the road for five straight games.
Center back Pedro Alcala hasn’t featured for the club since September. The Spaniard is suffering from an ankle injury and isn’t expected to be back anytime soon.
Defenders Aday and Juanpe both were suspended for the previous match against Malaga and now are back in the team.
The club from Basque region has crucial players missing from their squad. Keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has missed seven games due to Metatarsal bone bruise, and winger Iker Munian is only expected to be back with the team on March after cruciate ligament rupture.
Both full-backs Balenziaga and Oscar de Marcos are sidelined due to muscle and leg injuries respectively. Further, Laporte’s transfer to Manchester City might leave a hole in their defense as well.
Head to Head
The two teams have met only once in all competition which was the match at Sam Mames earlier this season. The game ended 2-0 in favor of Athletic Bilbao with goals from Munian and Aduriz.
Girona vs Athletic Bilbao Lineup(Possible XI)
Ramalho – Espinosa – Muniesa
Pablo Maffeo – Pere Pons – Granell – Mojica
Portu – Stuani – Garcia
Athletic Bilbao (4-2-3-1)
Lekue – Unai Nunez – Etxeita – Saborit
Iturraspe – Mikel Rico
Inaki Williams – Raul Garcia – Susaeta
Girona vs Athletic Bilbao Prediction
Girona look as if they are punching above their weights but are handling the pressure of La Liga pretty well. Athletic Bilbao, on the other hand, sits at the bottom half of the table and are finally finding some form. With the tie having not being played more than once, it is difficult to call out a winner. But we fancy the underdogs to win.
Girona vs Athletic Bilbao Prediction: Girona 1-0 Athletic Club