The month of August has finally come to a close and with it the first six games of Athletic Club’s season. The Lions were able to go unbeaten, winning four and keeping three clean sheets along the way. Kuko Ziganda’s side is off to a wonderful start to the new years and fans have a lot to be excited about moving forward. This year we have had many readers requesting for a monthly player ranking report and we are here to deliver. The list will be updated at the end of each month to accommodate all the new performances, while previous rankings will be the starting point for each player. With that being said, let’s jump into the list and don’t forget to get involved in the discussion in the comment section at the bottom of the page!
At The Bottom: Numbers 24-20
Our list begins with the players at the very bottom and there should be no surprises here. Kike Sola and Ander Iturraspe sit last due to the fact that they are the only players besides Yeray who have not yet featured for the team. Iturraspe has returned to training and should be back on the field soon. Sabin Merino comes next, having just played in one match and struggling to even get called up. Rounding out the bottom is Enric Saborit and Eneko Bóveda who both made their only appearance so far in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Eibar. The two defenders looked good, but it is only one game to go by.
24 Kike Sola, 23 Ander Iturraspe, 22 Sabin Merino, 21 Enric Saborit, 20 Eneko Bóveda
On The Outside Looking In: Numbers 19-15
Ranking the players outside of the top ten is really difficult due to bodies of work and different positions. Coming in next is Ager Aketxe who has been in the team but hasn’t really played enough minutes to make an impact at this point. Mikel Rico follows due to the same reasons, but he has been used heavily as a substitute in tight situations. Oscar De Marcos played a big role in Athletic’s comeback win over Panathinaikos, but recently suffered an ankle injury. Had he been available the last two games he would certainly be higher on the list. Mikel Vesga who played well, but hasn’t done enough to stand out so far. Likewise, Iñigo Lekue has looked strong in place of Oscar De Marcos but has been moved around quite a bit and hasn’t been consistent outside of the right-back role.
19 Ager Aketxe, 18 Mikel Rico, 17 Oscar De Marcos, 16 Mikel Vesga, 15 Iñigo Lekue
Catching Up: Numbers 14-11
Newcomer Iñigo Córdoba has really come on strong over the past few weeks, making his debut and then starting against Eibar. He has been electric on the left wing and his pass and dribbling makes him an exciting prospect. He could continue to climb the list. Xabi Etxeita is starting to rediscover his form from a few years ago and has acted as the starting defender beside Aymeric Laporte. He is hoping to keep up the form and earn a regular place in Ziganda’s team. Markel Susaeta looks to be getting back to his usual self lately and has been a dangerous player. Now the team captain, he is showing more consistency but has been in and out of the lineup while competing with Iñaki Williams. Lastly is Iago Herreín who has had some very good moments in the Europa League, but hasn’t played his best away from the San Mamés.
14 Iñigo Córdoba, 13 Xabi Etxeita, 12 Markel Susaeta, 11 Iago Herrerín
Coming On Strong: Numbers 10-6
The top ten begins with Iñaki Williams who was hard to place. He has been exceptionally deadly on the right wing but is still struggling to finish chances. His impact more than anything else sees him break into the this section. Unai Nuñez has really made a name for himself of late, starting in both La Liga matches alongside Aymeric Laporte. The Lezama graduate looks strong and comfortable in the Primera. Mikel Balenziaga and Mikel San Jose have both played exactly like you would expect. They have been consistent and have used their strengths to make positive contributions to the team. Just outside of the top five is Raúl García who put in a legendary display at home against Dinamo Bucuresti and has had a few more great showings along the way. He falls just out of the top five due to the fact that he has been rather quiet lately and has seen Iker Muniain shine in his position.
10 Iñaki Williams, 9 Unai Nuñez, 8 Mikel Balenziaga, 7 Mikel San Jose, 6 Raúl García
Number 5 – Aymeric Laporte
Aymeric Laporte is the only defender in the top five and with good reason. He has played every single game so far and has barely put a foot wrong. Splitting time with Xabi Etxeita and Unai Nuñez as his partners hasn’t been easy, but the Frenchman has looked strong no matter who is in the backline. Every year Laporte seems to become more of a leader and that is certainly the case to start this season. He even scored Athletic’s first goal of the season.
Number 4 – Beñat
On paper Beñat hasn’t been all that impressive this season. He has yet to score a goal or provide an assist, but that isn’t a surprise. The midfielder has picked up right where he left off last season as the team’s creative engine in the middle of the pitch that pulls everything together. He may not be the one setting up teammates for goals, but he is the man behind the scenes that is making it all happen. His consistent play and production earns fourth place on the list.
Number 3 – Aritz Aduriz
What else can be said about Aritz Aduriz? The ageless wonder continues to play at a very high level and is integral to Athletic’s success. Through the first six matches he has scored four goals which leads the team. Even when not scoring goals, Aduriz’s mere presence on the pitch is enough to keep defenders busy and his competitiveness always rubs off on his teammates. To win football matches you have to find the back of the net and Aduriz is doing that consistently. The top scorer takes third on the this month’s list.
Number 2 – Kepa Arrizabalaga
Kepa Arrizabalaga has started both of Athletic’s La Liga matches to start the year and has yet to surrender a goal. While it is true that the defense has been performing very well so far, the keeper has been untouchable. Athletic’s 1-0 victory over Eibar last weekend showed just how influential he can be as Kepa made three saves that probably should have been goals. It may have been Aritz Aduriz who scored the only goal, but the keeper won the game for the Lions and that puts him second on the list.
Number 1 – Iker Muniain
Iker Muniain tops the list for the month of August as he has clearly been Athletic’s best and most influential player to start the new year. The 24-year-old has been exceptional in attack and has played inspired football when utilized as an attacking midfielder. Muniain scored the winning goal against Panathinaikos at the San Mamés and has also provided two timely assists in other big matches. While his statistics may not jump out immediately, his impact has been felt in every single game. Muniain has no challengers for the top spot in August’s Athletic Club player rankings.