Athletic Bilbao v Sevilla

Athletic Bilbao will host Sevilla in the first leg of the Copa del Rey Round of 16 fixtures on Thursday. These two sides last met in the competition during the 2008-09 semi-finals win which Athletic Bilbao came out victorious, 4-2 on aggregate. These clubs are also each other’s previous opponent during the first half of the La Liga season which means they will also meet on the last weekend of the campaign in May.

Bilbao are currently on a four-match undefeated streak in all competitions, winning two of those fixtures and drawing the previous two matches. Bilbao remains in the right direction when they won against Celta Vigo in a home fixture on Monday night. After a shaky start to the season, Gaizka Garitano’s men seemed to be in good health as they’ve lost just once in their previous nine fixtures throughout the competition. When Bilbao come across Levante last month, they seemed to be struggling since they were defeated. Since then, they pulled themselves together and displayed three impressive performances. If they can deliver a repeat of these performances, they could possibly do well and come out successful on Thursday.

In the meantime, Sevilla also seemed like they are in a great form at the moment. They remain undefeated in eight of their previous fixtures and they will go into this match fresh off the back of a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid over the weekend. On the road, Sevilla are consistent in their form, losing none of their previous four fixtures and scoring in each of their last three. However, they haven’t won any of those four matches, even conceding in each of their previous three.

The match between these two will surely be as exciting as their previous head-to-head clashes since none of those ended in a draw.

Real Betis v Real Sociedad

Real Betis will be hoping to keep their title victory hopes alive when they welcome Real Sociedad in the first leg of the Round of 16 clash in the Copa del Rey. Real Sociedad will be put to test again when they take on Real Betis who are currently at the 6th place in the La Liga standings. Moreover, the hosts won only once in their previous six matches against the visitors but it’s quite important to take note that Real Betis have gone astray in only one of their previous 12 home fixtures.

Real Betis’ return to La Liga action after the holidays wasn’t really a particularly good one since they went down during their away match at Huesca even though they were taking the lead with less than half of the match remaining. After that frustration, they will be looking to bounce back but getting the better of a side that won at the Bernabeu on Sunday will definitely be a challenge. Real Betis is at the 6th place in the table at present, winning two of their previous three fixtures at home and unbeaten in four at the Benito Villamarin. Their strength in attacking will also most likely be a threat for the visitors.

On the other hand, Real Sociedad haven’t been exactly remarkable on their away fixtures. Even though they managed to claim victory in five matches on the road so far this season, they were able to keep just two clean sheets away from their turf. Aside from that, they haven’t been creative in their performances lately. Considering the fact that Betis are hard to beat in their home field and that they have yet to lose a match since October of last year, Thursday’s clash will definitely be interesting to watch.

Levante v Barcelona

Reigning champions Barcelona will take on Levante for yet another opportunity to claim the Copa del Rey title on Thursday. However, major players from the visitors may be rested for this matchup. On the bright side, the hosts haven’t done anything too bad in their performances lately, though they’re without a victory in four. Even though they’ve been having some struggles in their defence, they certainly delivered some good performances offensively in several events. But with an opponent like Barcelona, they will really need to patch things up in their defensive strategies.

Barcelona claimed their 30th Copa del Rey title last season, and it seems like they’ve remained consistent in their form from their last campaign since they’ve been completely unstoppable this season. The Catalans are also leading in the race for the La Liga crown as well as looking good in the Cup with both Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in form. Barcelona are currently on a three-match winning streak and have not yet lost any competitive fixture since November of last year. Aside from that, they have a record of four-match winning streak on away fixtures in all competitions.

On the other hand, Levante are having a not so good campaign in terms of their defensive ways. They managed to concede a massive 34 goals in the league so far this season. If they come into this match with a hollow defensive line, they might not stand a chance against Barcelona. However, the hosts have been amazing in their attacks so they could use this to their advantage and score countless goals. They were able to net at least 30 goals in the league so far and with Barcelona’s defence not at their best lately, there may be chances for Levante to make an impact on Thursday’s match.

By @EliaasMJ

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