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Athletic Bilbao suffer Iker Muniain blow before Valencia battle

Valencia’s quest for a Champions League spot continues, as the Bats travel to Basque Country for a midweek tussle against Athletic Bilbao.

The Mestalla men are level on 61 points with closest top four rivals Sevilla, and must make the most of their game in hand to leave the Bathtubs behind.

Los Che, 7/4 chances to triumph with Coral, are unbeaten since the beginning of February, an impressive run of eight encounters without defeat, and will fancy their chances at the San Mame stadium.

Visiting Valencia have conceded only once in their past five outings, and boast apparent Manchester United target Nicolas Otamendi in their ranks, so are a tempting 21/5 to win to nil against hosts that have notched up just 27 league goals so far this season.

Top club scorer Daniel Parejo has been enjoying a sensational campaign, but the Bats will have to battle the Basques without their skipper, who is suspended for this clash.

The midfield strings will instead be pulled by supposed Chelsea target Andre Gomes (4/1 in the anytime market), with poacher Paco Alcacer a fantastic 5/1 to fire home first.

Manchester City-owned Alvaro Negredo, meanwhile, was thwarted last time out against Villarreal by stopper Sergio Asenjo, though is an excellent 11/2 to make an impact in this clash by netting last.

As for Athletic, the Lions are also aiming to extend an excellent run of form, having lost just one of their last seven across all competitions, and have won two on the trot in their own den.

The Basque Country club are 6/4 favourites for victory, or perhaps a better punt 9/4 to take a point, after sharing the spoils from their past three match-ups with Valencia.

Athletic are reliant on goals from prolific Aritz Aduriz, who has grabbed 11 in La Liga, which is almost half the hosts’ total.

Aduriz was the last Bilbao player to be on target against Los Che and is 6/4 to trouble them again anytime, or 5/1 to draw first blood, while youngster Guillermo Fernandez Hierro is 11/2 to close the scoring.

The hosts’ attack has, however, been hindered by news that adaptable Iker Muniain is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the season after tearing a knee ligament.