Saturday, February 25, 2012

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26.02. (Sun) 12:00 Villarreal - Athletic Bilbao

Mario, Bruno Soriano, Mallorca, Villarreal
Getty Images



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

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.


  • 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).
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.
Editor's Prediction
Villarreal 2-1 Bilbao