Sporting Gijon v Athletic Bilbao - Sunday 17:15, Sky Sports 5
Sunday’s La Liga action kicks off with two sides who were battling away at opposite ends of the table last season. After three years in the Segunda, it was mission accomplished for Gijon last term as they survived by a single point on their return to the top flight. This was largely due to winning four of their final five home games having won just three of their previous 14. Bilbao seem to go from strength to strength under established manager Ernesto Valverde who begins his fourth campaign in charge having guided his men from the Basque Country to finish no lower than 7th. As has become the norm with Athletic they’ve only signed Basque players and more importantly they have managed to keep hold of their stars, who attracted attention all summer, in particular the very highly rated centre-back Aymeric Laporte. The summer hasn’t been so kind to Gijon who have lost a number of key players at both ends of the pitch. Luis Hernandez has joined Leicester, and in the last two seasons Gijon have lost 12 of the 21 games he’s missed (57%). Sporting have also suffered up top as 16 of their 40 goals last season were scored by the recently departed Sanabria and Jony. Their record against top-six sides last season isn’t exactly encouraging either (W2-D1-L9) and they failed to score in seven of these games. Bilbao have won seven of their last 10 against bottom-six sides and have kept a clean sheet on six occasions. We are backing Bilbao to make a winning start and to keep a clean sheet against a toothless Gijon.
Sporting Gijon v Athletic Bilbao - Sunday 17:15, Sky Sports 5 - 1pt @ 11/5
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