Malaga – Athletic Bilbao: Pellegrini’s men looking for first win over Basques since 2006

La Liga Week 5
Wednesday September 21, 2011 (21.00 UK)

La Rosaleda, Malaga

Malaga come into this match full of confidence following two consecutive league wins since their opening day defeat at Sevilla.

Anchovies boss Manuel Pellegrini has just about a full squad to choose from and the only players set to miss out through injury are Weligton and Kris Stadsgaard, neither of whom would be likely to start.

Pellegrini appears to be set on his favoured starting eleven, therefore there will be few changes to the team. Meanwhile, Athletic Bilbao come to La Rosaleda in somewhat of a mini-crisis.

Athletic Coach Marcelo Bielsa is under considerable pressure after the side’s poor start to the season which has seen them pick up just the one point from a possible nine, whilst he has also received much criticism for his team selection.

The visitors will be without Fernando Amorebieta after his sending off in the 3-2 defeat to Real Betis, therefore Carlos Gurpegi could drop back into the backline as he did against Slovan Bratislava should Mikel San Jose fail to prove his fitness, and Ander Herrera will continue to miss out.

Despite the various problems Athletic have encountered, midfielder Markel Susaeta is optimistic of a positive result in Andalusia, but is under no illusion about the task ahead.

He said: “It’s time to get the first win of the season and what better place to get it than Malaga, against a great team. We will go for it.

“It’s a team with more quality than any we’ve played this year. They have great players that can really hurt us if we do things as badly as against Betis.”

Malaga (4-2-3-1):Willy; Gamez, Demichelis, Mathijsen, Eliseu; Toulalan, Duda; Joaquin, Julio Baptista, Cazorla; van Nistelrooy
League form: Last five home W-W-W-L-W

Athletic Bilbao (4-2-3-1):Iraizoz; Iraola, Gurpegi, Javi Martinez, De Marcos; David Lopez, Iturraspe; Susaeta, Muniain, Gabilondo; Llorente
League form: Last five home W-L-L-L-L

Did you know…Each of the last four La Liga meetings between Malaga and Athletic have ended in a 1-1 draw.

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