Athletic Bilbao will play their final game of 2018 against Real Valladolid hoping to get the necessary points to climb out of the bottom three.
Athletic Bilbao vs Real Valladolid – San Mamés Stadium – Saturday 12th December – Kick-off 7.45pm UK time
Los Leones have endured a frustrating opening half to the season with nine draws and just two wins leaving them down in 18th place in LaLiga.
Alongside Barcelona and Real Madrid, Bilbao have never been relegated from the Spanish top flight and recently fired manager Eduardo Berizzo and replaced him with former player Gaizka Garitano in a bid to ensure that record doesn’t change.
Under the Spaniard, Bilbao have won two of their last three games in all competitions and will be hoping to cap the year off with one more victory.
However, regardless of whether they obtain the three points or not, Bilbao will end 2018 behind Saturday’s opponents Valladolid.
Despite having just one win in their last seven league matches, Valladolid performed strongly against the likes of Atletico Madrid and Sevilla.
Sergio González’s side remains in a strong 12th place in LaLiga and sits five points above Bilbao with at least 2 goals scored in their last 3 games.
They also defeated Bilbao’s Basque rivals Real Sociedad 2-1 earlier this month.
Garitano is expected to field practically the same line-up from their 0-0 draw against Deportivo Alavés on Monday with the only change being Iñaki Williams coming in for Markel Susaeta.
After starting all of Garitano’s three games in charge, Íñigo Córdoba is expected to continue on the left wing after struggling for game time under Berizzo.
But defender Yeray Álvarez will be doubtful until the last minute due to suffering a minor knock, which could allow Unai Núñez a rare start.
For Valladolid, full-back Javi Moyano has now fully recovered from his muscular problem and is back in contention for Bilbao.
Although Standard Liège loanee Duje Cop will likely remain unavailable due a fever, after missing last weekend’s game with Atletico, with Ivi López and Luismi out.
Athletic Bilbao (4-5-1): Iago Herrerín; Óscar de Marcos, Unai Núñez, Íñigo Martínez, Yuri Berchiche; Dani García, Beñat Etxebarría, Iñaki Williams, Raúl García, Íñigo Córdoba; Aritz Aduriz
Real Valladolid (4-4-2): Jordi Masip; Javi Moyano, Kiko Olivas, Fernando Calero, Nacho Martínez; Keko Gontán, Rubén Alcaraz, Míchel Herrero, Toni Villa; Enes Unal, Óscar Plano
Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Real Valladolid