Basque battle kicks off Jornada 21 as Athletic host Eibar

Basque battle kicks off Jornada 21 as Athletic host Eibar

January 26, 2018 Off By Campbell Finlayson

Athletic Bilbao will look to climb to seventh in La Liga on Friday night when they welcome Basque neighbours Eibar to San Mames.

Eibar are the smallest of the Basque clubs in La Liga but looking at the league table you wouldn’t know that with Los Armeros sitting proudly in eighth place ahead of their far bigger regional neighbours in Bilbao (12th) and Real Sociedad (15th) as well as Vitoria based Alaves (16th).

They go into this game on the back of a 1-1 draw with Malaga at the Ipurua on Monday night and have lost just one of their last nine games, that defeat being a 1-0 loss to second placed Atletico Madrid but will face a stern test at San Mames against an Athletic side who themselves are unbeaten in nine La Liga matches and are in the Europa League last 32.

Kepa Arrizabalaga signed a new contract with Athletic Club in midweek despite seemingly being close to a move to Real Madrid but isn’t the squad for Friday’s game. Long term absentee Iker Muniain will be joined on the sidelines by Mikel Balenziaga and Oscar De Marcos who have small injuries.

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Eibar will be without Sergi Enrich and Paulo Oliveira through recent injuries as well as Fran Rico and Pedro Leon.

Predicted Line-Ups:

Athletic Club (4-2-3-1): Herrerin; Lekue, Nunez, Etxeita, Saborit; Iturraspe, Rico; Susaeta, Garcia, Williams; Aduriz

Eibar (4-4-2): Dmitrovic; Capa, Arbilla, Ramis, Angel; Orellana, Garcia, Jordan, Inui; Charles, Kike