The both teams have big problems in the squad. They need to start winning immediately, especially Espanyol, who’s in the 20th position in La Liga standings.
Abelardo has no choice, he must win
Espanyol’s worst La Liga season of the last decade appears to be turning a corner after they collected points in consecutive matches for the first time this season. The Catalonian outfit has notably opened the scoring back-to-back, having previously done so in just five of their 18 previous La Liga matches at any venue. Unfortunately for them, they still hold the worst points per game average (1.14) in the league when scoring first. Early set-piece chances may come at a premium in particular, with Espanyol averaging just 1.30 first-half corners per home La Liga game – one of the lowest such averages in the league.
For Garitano’s club, it could be an easy show
Athletic Bilbao visit having now recorded four consecutive La Liga draws (all containing two total goals or less). Impressively, they have conceded just ten La Liga away goals to this point. Furthermore, Bilbao’s last nine away trips have seen only one witness two or more goals in the first half. Though demanding visitors, Bilbao has still gone on to win on just one of the four occasions in which they have opened the scoring on the road. H2H history favors active starters, though, with the half-time result replicated at the final whistle in all but one of the last seven H2H meetings.
Will not play
From Espanyol: Lopez J. – Red card; Questionable: Campuzano – Groin injury, Corchia – Knee injury.
From Athletic Bilbao: Lopez U. – Yellow card, de Marcos – Ankle injury; Questionable: Aduriz – Hip injury, Berchiche – Muscle injury, Ganea – Tendon injury, Simon – Illness, Vician – Ankle injury.
Players to watch
Centre-half David López has opened the scoring in consecutive matches for Espanyol, for his only two goals of the season.
Similarly, Iñaki Williams has recorded Bilbao’s first goal of the game in two of his last four away appearances.
Stat attack: Three (75 percent) of Espanyol’s last four La Liga home draws have seen them lead at half-time.