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LaLiga Matchweek 12 preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Celta Vigo (21:00h. CET) - Team news, lineups

Celta Vigo will be looking to move out of the La Liga relegation zone when they continue their 2020-21 campaign away to Athletic Bilbao on Friday night.

The visitors picked up an important three points against Granada on Sunday to move off the bottom of the table, while Athletic collected a welcome point at Getafe last time out.

Match preview

Consistency has certainly been an issue for Athletic this season, but a record of 13 points from 10 matches represents a solid start to the campaign for the Basque outfit.

Gaizka Garitano's side have picked up positive results in their last two matches, thumping Real Betis 4-0 at home on November 23 before collecting a point away to Getafe on Sunday.

Athletic have actually now won each of their last three league games on home soil, including an impressive 2-1 success over Sevilla at the end of October, and they are just three points off fifth spot at this stage.

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a disappointing few years for the club, who finished fourth in 2013-14 but have since dropped down the division.

Athletic played out a 1-1 draw with Celta in the corresponding match during the 2019-20 campaign but have not lost a La Liga game to Friday's opponents on home soil since October 2006.

Celta, as mentioned, picked up an extremely important three points at home to Granada last time out, recording a 3-1 victory to move off the bottom of the table.

The strugglers actually fell behind to a Luis Suarez strike in the 25th minute of the contest, but Nolitolevelled the scores in the 27th minute before Miguel Baeza and Fran Beltran both registered late on.

Celta are still inside the bottom three, having picked up just 10 points from their 11 matches, but they are only four points off seventh-placed Barcelona, which is an indication of how things stand in the table.

Eduardo Coudet has now won one and lost one of his two matches since replacing Oscar Garcia as head coach, and the 46-year-old will be eyeing another positive result on Friday night.

The Sky Blues have only just survived in La Liga in the last two seasons - finishing 17th on both occasions - and will be determined to avoid another relegation battle in 2020-21 if at all possible.

Athletic Bilbao La Liga form: WLWLWD

Celta Vigo La Liga form: LDLDLW

Team News

Athletic will be without the services of key central defender Inigo Martinez as the Spaniard is suspended due to the yellow card that he picked up against Getafe last time out.

Fellow defenders Ander Capa and Yuri Berchiche are also unavailable for selection, meaning that there will have to be a reshuffle at the back for the home side.

Mikel Balenziaga, Unai Nunez and Inigo Lekue could all come into the XI, but there are not expected to be any changes further forward with Asier Villalibre likely to keep his spot at the tip of the attack.

As for Celta, Okay Yokuslu is suspended due to the straight red card that he picked up against Granada, while David Junca, Emre Cor, Kevin Vazquez and Sergio Alvarez are still injured.

Santi Mina and Iago Aspas operated as a front two last time out and that is again expected to be the case on Friday with Nolito and Denis Suarez providing support from behind.

Brais Mendez should earn another position in the XI, but Baeza and Beltran are likely to start on the bench once again despite both scoring in the win over Granada.

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Balenziaga, Yeray, Nunez, Lekue; Vesga, Vencedor; Berenguer, Muniain, Williams; Villalibre

Celta Vigo possible starting lineup:
Blanco; Mallo, Araujo, Murillo, Olaza; Mendez, Tapia, Suarez; Nolito; Aspas, Mina

Source: Sports Mole / Matt Law

 

 

 

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