Last time both clubs met, Athletic Club picked up the win very easily in a 3-0 win against Sporting Gijon at San Mames. Markel Susaeta gave the home side the lead, Inaki Williams squaring it to Susaeta who slotted it into the empty net. Ten minutes later, Aritz Aduriz had the chance to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot which was saved by Alberto Garica but Aduriz managed to latch onto the rebounder. Half way through the second half, Aduriz extended Athletic’s lead to 3-0 after a fine ball from Benat Extebarria.
Sporting Gijon haven’t been doing well in recent weeks, their last win goes back to the end of January where they managed to pick up all three points through a penalty from Antonio Sanabria against Valencia. The Croatian forward has been the top goal scorer for the club, managing 10 goals and two Man of the Match awards in 17 appearances. Sporting have only picked up six wins in 27 matches, the second least in the league alongside Rayo Vallecano and Deportivo La Coruna.
Athletic Club have been on and off this season, after a poor start to the season they are finally pushing for a top seven spot. Athletic have the third most goals in the league after Barcelona and Real Madrid. The Basque side have been impressive in the European competition, making it into the Round of 16. The man to look out for from this team has definitely got to be Aritz Aduriz, the Spanish forward has 17 goals and 4 assists in 24 appearances especially at the age of 35. He has also picked up five Man of the Match awards, showing how good he still is at an old age.
Abelardo Fernandez’s side will continue playing in their 4-2-3-1 formation. Sporting go into the game with defender Bernardo still injured and midfielder Sergio Alvarez who picked up a red card in their last game. They last played on Wednesday, so there could be a chance of one or two players being rotated due to low fitness. A lot of players in the first team line-up will have to be very cautious in the Athletic game, they are one yellow card away from being suspended for the next game.
Sporting Gijon’s predicted line-up (4-2-3-1): Cuellar, Vranjes, Hernandez, Mere, Lopez, Mascarell, Rachid, Carmona, Ndi, Jony, Sanabria.
Ernesto Valverde’s side will be expected to playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Both Inaki Williams and Ibai Gomez are still injured, whilst Eneko Boveda’s status is still uncertain with only two days left till the game. Defender Mikel Balenziaga will have to be very careful, he is one yellow card away from suspension.
Athletic Club’s predicted line-up 4-2-3-1: Iraizoz, Balenziaga, Laporte, Etxeita, De Marcos, San Jose, Benat, Merino, Raul Garcia, Muniain, Aduriz.
What to expect
Athletic Club are undefeated in their last five head to head meetings with Sporting Gijon, with the form the Basque side are in they should be able to win this match confidently. Aritz Aduriz and the fantastic wingers close to him will be too much for Sporting to handle.