Athletic Bilbao make a visit to Mestalla in the quarter finals of the Copa Del Rey

Last year’s Copa Del Rey finalists Valencia, welcome a formidable Athletic Bilbao on Thursday night. Valencia have made their way into the last 8 of the competition, after a gigantic triumph against Sporting Gijon, whom the Bats defeated 4-0. Although Los Che have been poor in LaLiga so far this season, the Copa Del Rey is a competition in which Valencia never fails to impress, and we can expect a lot from Gennaro Gattuso’s men this time around as well.

Bilbao have had a sketchy start to 2023. Los Leoneshave failed to register a single win in LaLiga since the onset of the new calendar year, with their only wins coming in the Copa Del Rey. Despite the poor run of form, Bilbao are a team with pedigree, and can never be ruled out of contention as they have it in them to come up with unexpected results.

Kick-off

Thursday, 26th January; 07:00 pm (GMT)
Friday, 27th January; 01:30 am (IST)

Valencia form (all competitions): D-W-D-L-W

Athletic Club form (all competitions): L-W-L-D-W

Players to Watch

Valencia

Edinson Cavani

Cavani has been a great inclusion in Valencia’s 11. After his move from Man United, few expected the 35-year-old to shine at his new club, which played in one of the toughest leagues in the world. But Cavani made sure to prove his doubters wrong, as the Uruguayian linchpin has been crucial for Valencia, and has already scored five goals in his ten games in La Liga this season.

Against Bilbao also, Cavani’s inert attacking abilities and experience will be important for Valencia, and he is definitely a player to watch out for.

Athletic Club

Nico Williams

The 20-year-old Spaniard, is having a breakthrough season with Atletico, and already has 6 direct goal contributions so far this season. Not only this, Nico can also be a major threat from the wings, courtesy of his exceptional pace and ball control.

Young Nice can prove to be decisive for Bilbao in such an important fixture, and should definitely be on everybody’s lookout.

Match Facts

  • Athletic Club’s defense has been poor so far this season, and have let through a total of 19 goals in the league.
  • Valencia have won their two games in the Copa Del Rey this season by a total margin of 7 goals to nil.
  • The last time these two teams met, Athletic Club claimed a narrow win, with a full-time score of 1-0.

Team and Injury News

For Bilbao, Iñigo Martínez is the only absentee. Yeray Alvarez is also back after suspension, and is deemed to start in this game.

Nicolas Gonzalez and Jaume Domenech are sidelined for this clash, whereas Thiery and Diakhaby’s presence is doubtful.

Head-to-Head record

Matches – 39

Valencia – 14

Athletic Club– 11

Draw – 14

Predicted Lineups

Athletic Club predicted lineup:
Simon; De Marcos, Paredes, Yeray, Yuri; D Garcia, Vesga; I Williams, Sancet, N Williams; Guruzeta

Valencia predicted lineup:
Mamardashvili; Correia, Comert, Diakhaby, Gaya; Musah, Guillamon, Almeida; Lino, Cavani, Kluivert

Match Prediction

The game will be pretty end to end, and both teams will display brilliant attacking prowess, but Athletic Club will manage to get past this fixture, by a slender lead, with the winner coming in extra time.

Prediction: Athletic Club 2-1 Valencia

Where to watch?

India – N/A
UK – N/A
USA – ESPN+
Nigeria – Live Soccer TV

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