By David Goulbourn

When: 2:45PM EST, Monday, April 24th, 2017

Where: Estadio Municipal de Ipura, Eibar, Spain

Betting Line: OFF

TV Coverage: beIN SPORTS en Español

 

Eibar (14-8-10) welcome Athletic Bilbao (16-5-11) to Estadio Municipal de Ipura on Monday in a Basque country derby near the top of the La Liga table as the sides in 8th and 6th place face off against each other. The last time these 2 sides met was back in December when Athletic Bilbao ran out 3-1 winners at the San Mames Stadium thanks to goals from Benat, Inaki Williams and Iker Muniain.

Eibar come into this game as 1 of the 5 sides in the hunt for Europa League qualification. Just 5 points separate 5 teams in the race for 1 of the 2 of the spots that will guarantee European football next season. Eibar currently sit 3 points behind Athletic Bilbao in 6th place and know that a win would be a huge result for them here on Monday in a game that they can ill afford to lose. Athletic Bilbao on the other hand currently occupy 1 of those Europa League spots and know that if they can beat Eibar on Monday then they can knock 1 of their rivals out of the race and give themselves a great chance of finishing in the top 6 with just 5 games remaining.  

Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao come into this game on a solid run of form that has seen them win 3 and lose 2 of their last 5 games. The 2 losses in that time have come against teams above them in the shape of Real Madrid and Villarreal. Last time out they beat Las Palmas 5-1 as 2 goals from Iker Muniain and 2 from Aritz Aduriz helped them to a comfortable victory at San Mames Stadium. Aritz Aduriz’s 2 goals moved him up to 14 goals for the season and he will have his sights set on Iago Aspas who is a further 2 ahead of him as he aims to finish the season as the highest scoring Spaniard in La Liga.

Eibar

Eibar come into this game in good form with just 1 defeat in their last 5 games. That defeat did come last time out against Real Betis as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Estadio Benito Villamarin. Before that defeat Eibar had won 3 consecutive games after victories over Celta Vigo, Las Palmas and Villarreal had given them a great chance of qualifying for the Europa League.

Key Points

1. Eibar have scored 52 goals in La Liga this season, that is their best record ever in the top flight of Spanish football.

2. Athletic Bilbao have not lost any of their Basque country derbies this season with 3 wins and a draw so far.

3. Athletic Bilbao have scored 16% of their goals this season from the penalty spot. That is the highest percentage of any team in the division this season.

The Pick

This is a big game for both sides in the race for Europa League football and I can see a draw being the most likely result in a game neither side will want to lose.

Eibar 2, Athletic Bilbao 2