La Liga: Osasuna Vs Athletic Bilbao – Match preview
With each of Bilbao’s last 15 La Liga road trips producing two total goals or less, expectations of a real goal feast to start 2022 are scant.
Once tipped by some optimists to challenge for a first top-four finish since the 2005/06 La Liga campaign, Osasuna just haven’t been the same since conceding a last-minute equaliser to Granada back in October. That game sparked the Rojillos’ current nine-game winless run in La Liga action, which has seen all the defeats come without any response. A 2-2 draw against Barcelona stands as the only game in that run to see Osasuna recover after conceding first, and such a gutsy fightback can only give them hope of winning at home for only the second time this term. Yet, even a mere clean sheet would see the club extend on their preceding run of four straight La Liga openers to a calendar year without defeat.
Visitors Athletic Bilbao can top that with a six-year unbeaten run in such matches, but the Basque side provide no solid guarantees as the sportsbooks’ pick – especially with a long absentee list for this match. Notably, they began 2022 as one of seven clubs with a La Liga win-rate of under 40 per cent as favourites this term, partly due to a return of just one win from eight games going back to the start of November. With each of Bilbao’s last 15 La Liga road trips producing two total goals or less, expectations of a real goal feast to start 2022 are scant. Their return from that streak contains four 1-0 scorelines, while none of the draws witnessed any first-half goals from open play.
David Garcia scored Osasuna’s first equaliser in their last home match, while Iker Muniain netted the decisive goal in Bilbao’s winning start to 2021 last term. Combined, the two players boast five goals so far this campaign, of which three have acted as match closers beyond the 75th minute. Bilbao have drawn all five La Liga away games entered as favourites this term.