Previewing Real Valladolid vs Athletic Club: LaLiga Matchday 27
Athletic may have booked their place in next month’s Copa del Rey final, but there is still other business to attend to. This Sunday the Lions will return to La Liga action with a trip to Real Valladolid and three vital points on the line. Coming off of a much-needed win over Villarreal last weekend, Athletic hope to build on the momentum and start climbing the table.
Valladolid have been a difficult opponent for Athletic in recent years. In the last three meetings the Basques have drawn twice and suffered a defeat despite playing well in those fixtures. However, Athletic have been the better side throughout history, winning 41 of 90 total matches and losing just 24 times. At the moment Athletic hold a five point lead over Valladolid in the table, though neither side will be willing to settle for anything short of victory.
At the moment Valladolid are safe from the relegation zone with a seven point cushion, but there is still plenty of football left to play. With the match taking place at José Zorilla, the Pucela will be expected to put in a strong performance in hopes of picking up an important victory. Manager Sergio will field his best possible eleven and hope for a repeat of last year’s fixture where Valladolid defeated Athletic 1-0 at home.
Being less than 72 hours removed from an intense Cup semifinal second leg against Granada, fatigue could be an issue for Athletic. Gaizka Garitano must judge the fitness of the players to determine the startling lineup, though Dani García is certain to be in the team after missing the Cup clash through suspension. Unfortunately, both Ander Capa and Unai Núñez are suspended which suggests that the Mister will likely field a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Last weekend’s victory over Villarreal snapped a ten-game winless streak in league play and Athletic have no desire to fall back into the same bad run of form. Taking all three points against Valladolid could help jumpstart a surge up the La Liga table and to do that the Zurigorri must finish chances and defend well from set pieces. For now the Cup final must wait because the stage is set for a big result at Estadio José Zorilla.
Projected Athletic Club XI: Unai Simón, Iñigo Lekue, Yeray, Iñigo Martinez, Yuri Berchiche, Dani García, Unai López, Iñaki Williams, Iker Muniain, Iñigo Córdoba, Raúl García