Athletic Bilbao VS Sassuolo Prediction
Athletic Bilbao will be keen to take its revenge for losing 3-0 by Sassuolo in Italy, back in opening round of the 2016-17 UEFA Europa League group stage. Current round five meets both sides once again when on Thursday evening the “Estadio de San Mamés” in Bilbao will be venue of their clash. Athletic and Sassuolo can be found in one of the most competitive Europa League groups (Group F), at least after first four legs, where we have four sides in space of only a point difference. Belgian Genk and Athletic Bilbao are topping the group with 6 points but Rapid Vienna and Sassuolo breathe in their neck, both having just one point less – respectively 5 points. Situation looks really dodgy and simple calculations are showing that eventual victories for Athletic and Genk will get them through. Otherwise we shall expect one really intriguing sixth round, when Athletic will travel to Vienna, while Sassuolo hosts on Genk.
Athletic Bilbao vs Sassuolo – Team News and Match Preview
Athletic Bilbao remains unbeaten in the last month and their streak includes two wins and two draws. Both draws were in Spanish La Liga where “Lions” failed to win against Osasuna (1-1) at home and Espanyol (0-0, away), but their latest domestic result inspires optimism, when on Sunday night Athletic won over Villarreal. The narrow success at “San Mames” came after a second half winner by Raúl García and this keeps Athletic on the 7th position, but they also remain on just two points behind fourth-placed Villarreal.
Meanwhile, between the two aforementioned La Liga draws, Athletic Bilbao achieved another home victory in its Europa League campaign, as the 5-3 over Genk has moved them on second position. Apparently Ernesto Valverde’s men are doing much better at their “San Mames”, where they have six wins and a draw in last seven matches. All of them came after losing 0-1 to Barcelona during Athletic’s first home game in the 2016-17 season. However, their away form has been far from impressive and they have lost in both previous Europa League outings.
First of those two defeats which Athletic has suffered in the UEFA Europa League came on Italian turf, where Sassuolo marked its group stage debut in a spectacular way. The 3-0 win against an opposition like team from Bilbao was surely remarkable result for “The Neroverdi”, but it remains their only one in Group F so far. Under these circumstances Sassuolo must avoid a defeat, otherwise they must hope for a good outcome in the other game, where Genk should not win.
Sassuolo comes after a disappointing weekend result, when on Sunday Eusebio Di Francesco’s side lost with 2-3 against Sampdoria, although they were leading 2-0 until the 84th minute. That was fourth loss of Sassuolo in last 5 games and their winless streak is even bigger – 7 matches. After that game in the Serie A, Sassuolo occupies 16th position, but they’re still on six points over the relegation zone.
Athletic Bilbao vs Sassuolo – Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
Last win of “The Neroverdi” remains in mid-October when they won 2-1 against Crotone at home. That’s also their only success in 10 games and thus Sassuolo’s form can be easily described as worrying. Anyway, Eusebio Di Francesco can find some positives in efforts of his men, since Sassuolo have scored in all their games, except one – 0-3 home loss by Atalanta right before recent international break. Well, there’s another 0-3 defeat for Sassuolo, but that happened in end of August and victory has been awarded to Pescara by the Italian FA decision, although Sassuolo won the game 2-1. This means Sassuolo have scored a goal in 20 out of 21 competitive games this season.
On other hand we have strong hosts in face of Athletic Bilbao and this definitely makes them major favourites for winning the game. Bookmakers are also on same opinion, but our betting prediction recommends “Both teams to score – Yes“. Odds are really good and we find value in it, especially if we have in mind Sassuolo’s scoring ability, despite absence of their main striker Domenico Berardi.
Venue: “San Mamés Barria”, Bilbao.
Referee: Viktor Kassai from Hungary.
Possible starting lineups of Athletic Bilbao and Sassuolo
Athletic Bilbao: Iago Herrerín – Mikel Balenziaga, Aymeric Laporte, Yeray Álvarez, Eneko Bóveda – Mikel San Jose, Beñat Etxebarria – Iker Muniain, Raul Garcia, Markel Susaeta – Aritz Aduriz. (4-2-3-1)
Missing players – Kepa Arrizabalaga, Enric Saborit, Oscar de Marcos, Javi Eraso, Ander Iturraspe and Ager Aketxe.
US Sassuolo: Andrea Consigli – Federico Peluso, Francesco Acerbi, Luca Antei, Pol Lirola – Davide Biondini, Simone Missiroli, Francesco Magnanelli – Federico Ricci, Matteo Politano, Gregoire Defrel. (4-3-3)
Missing players – Timo Letschert, Emanuele Terranova, Stefano Sensi, Alfred Duncan, Pietro Iemmello and Domenico Berardi.