On the surface, there’s not a great deal at stake here with both sides languishing in the wrong half of the division. Just one point and one place separates them which suggests they are fairly evenly matched sides so it’d be a surprise to see either run away with it.
This is a game that has a history of boiling over though so it might be spared the fate of some matches at this time of the year in Spain, where teams look almost disinterested. A pre-season friendly between the sides back in August was actually abandoned when Alaves had two men sent off and defender Alexis Ruano grabbed the referee by the face.
They also had three men sent off in a Basque derby against Athletic back in 2002 in La Liga and meetings are usually physical affairs. This should be no different with the sides battling it out with Eibar and Sociedad to finish as the highest ranked Basque side this term.
That would be scant reward for Athletic who have had a poor campaign. They are expected to announce this week that coach José Ángel Ziganda will leave the club at the end of the season and he can have few complaints. Athletic have been poor going forward under him with just 1.11 goals per game in La Liga while they’ve lost 50% of their away games.
Only six sides in the Spanish top flight have collected fewer points on their travels and they’ve lost four of their last six away games in all competitions. That’s not a great record to take to a ground that has been a real fortress for Alaves since a desperate start to the season.
They had a run where they won 9 out of 10 at home during the middle part of the campaign. They’ve suffered a few defeats since then and they perhaps took their foot off the pedal briefly having secured survival. However they’ve won 4 of their last 6 overall including an easy 3-0 win at Malaga last weekend.
Alaves will certainly be up for this against their Basque rivals and backing a Home Win looks the most appealing bet, especially given they’ve won six of their seven home games against sides ranked 12th or lower.
Going for Munir to score anytime also looks good. He’s had the best season of his career with 13 goals in all competitions. Only one of those came before 30th November so he’s improved as the season has progressed and should be a threat in this one.