The midweek Spanish Primera Division round will kick off on Tuesday in Bilbao where Athletic is attractively priced to improve its good home numbers with a win over Espanyol.
Athletic is 10-3-2 in its 15 Spanish Primera Division home matches and its two losses in front of its crazy fans have been by single-goal margins to the league’s big two, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Athletic has lost each of its four Spanish Primera Division games versus Real and Barcelona to demonstrate that it is someway short of the top level but the Lions, particularly at home, are more than a match for anyone else in Spain. Athletic coach Ernesto Valverde will have a full squad from which to choose which Lions players line up against Espanyol as they bid to make it four points from their two Spanish Primera Division clashes with the Budgerigars following November’s 0-0 draw in Barcelona.
Espanyol is two rungs and four points below Athletic on the Spanish Primera Division ladder and, according to one’s collateral form analysis, the Budgerigars only trail the Lions 8-2-9. However, Espanyol’s proximity is due to its superiority over Athletic in their respective performances versus the Spanish Primera Division’s lesser lights – the Budgerigars are 1-0-7 behind the Lions when one just counts games featuring the competition’s highest ranked nine sides.
Athletic has taken out each of its last two Spanish Primera Division home matches against Espanyol and, with Budgerigars forward Gerard Moreno ruled out through suspension, the odds are firmly in favour of the Lions. Athletic is available at odds of -149 with William Hill to, perhaps only temporarily, leapfrog Sociedad and Villarreal on the Spanish Primera Division ladder courtesy of a home victory over Espanyol.
Wednesday’s game between Barcelona and Sevilla is the clear highlight of the Spanish Primera Division round and one is keen on backing both teams to score at odds of -189 with several bookmakers, including 188Bet and Bet365.
Barcelona has scored in all bar one of its 29 Spanish Primera Division matches and that was when Malaga came to Camp Nou and shut up shop for a 0-0 draw in November. You may be surprised to read that Barcelona has kept just 11 clean sheets in its 29 Spanish Primera Division games in spite of its massive superiority over many of its league rivals and that Barca have not managed to shut out Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Sociedad and Villarreal. That is correct – seventh-placed Athletic is the highest ranked side that Barcelona has kept to nil in a Spanish Primera Division match. Defending is not Barcelona’s forte and Sevilla is unlikely to die wondering. Sevilla has found the back of the net in 26 of its 29 Spanish Primera Division games, including in 14 of its 15 away matches. November’s reverse Spanish Primera Division fixture ended 2-1 in favour of Barcelona and both teams scored inside 43 minutes.
Also on Wednesday, Spanish Primera Division cellar dweller Osasuna will take to the road to face 10th-placed Alaves.
Paddy Power is offering odds of +130 about Alaves beating Osasuna and keeping an 11th Spanish Primera Division clean sheet as well. According to one’s Spanish Primera Division collateral form analysis, Alaves boasts a 16-2-1 edge over Osasuna and, if one excludes how the Babazorros defended versus Real Madrid and Barcelona, they have let in 22 goals in their other 25 top-flight games. Osasuna is one of the worst Spanish Primera Division teams in recent years.
Athletic Bilbao to beat Espanyol
Tuesday 4th April, 18:30 BST
Barcelona v Sevilla – Both teams to score
Wednesday 5th April, 18:30 BST
Alaves to beat Osasuna to Nil
Wednesday 5th April, 19:30 BST