Both Athletic Club and Espanyol will be looking to take an advantage in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey clash between the two sides at the San Memes Stadium on Wednesday.
Athletic are on a good run of form going into this game only being defeated once in their last five competitive outings which has left them 13th in La Liga with the 5-2 loss at the hands of Barcelona being the only blotch on their formbook. They eliminated Malaga, Celta Vigo and Alcoyano to set up this tie but their recent form against Espanyol doesn’t stand them in good stead just winning the one out of the last six meetings.
Their opposition were also a good run of form until recently with Espanyol losing three consecutive matches to Valenica and Sevilla on two separate occasions in the past fortnight which has seen them slip to ninth in the table. Their cup form is much better defeating big sides Sevilla, Valenica and Deportivo Alaves to reach this stage and their confidence will be boosted by their recent form against Ernesto Valverde’s side winning three of the last six meetings.
Mikel San Jose is set to brought in at the back for the home side with the suspension of young starlet Aymeric Laporte, Andoni Iraola will be available after his return from suspension and will slot in at right-back while inform striker Aritz Aduriz is expected to keep his place after four goals in his last three games.
Alvaro Gonzalez will be missing for the away side through suspension with Hector Moreno and Diego Colotti like to partner up in defence. Victor Sanchez will also be suspended which may force Abraham into an early return to first-team action after fracturing his cheekbone last week. Kiko Casilla will be returning to action in-between the goalposts after his suspension.