Previewing Barakaldo Vs Athletic Club

Lopez Celebrate

Unai López was the star in the win over Amorebieta (MD)

Athletic are coming off of an impressive 3-0 win over Amorebieta in their first friendly of the preseason and are looking to build on the momentum. The Lions will be facing off with local Basque club, Barakaldo, on Sunday at Lesesarre and expectations are even higher. Eduardo Berizzo left behind several key players in the previous match, but has called most of them up for this fixture. The team will still be without Kepa Arrizabalaga (still on vacation) and Iñigo Martinez (injured), while Raúl García will also miss out after picking up a muscle injury during Saturday’s training.

Despite the impressive team win over Amorebieta, there were a few players who didn’t look as sharp and could use a good showing against Barakaldo. Strikers Sabin Merino and Asier Villalibre come to mind and will need to step up if they are going to compete for their place in the team. Berizzo has made the decision to wait until after Sunday’s match before choosing the squad that will make the training trip to Holland so this game will be important for several players.

In Thursday’s win the team showed a grasp of Berizzo’s system, which was the ultimate goal. Friendlies at this point of the summer are more about building a cohesion and rhythm than scoring a lot of goals so that will be the storyline to watch against Barakaldo. At the same time, fans will no doubt be excited to see the young stars in action again after the likes of Iñigo Vicente, Oihan Sancet, and Gorka Guruzeta played well in the first game.

Berizzo has already stated that his player rotation will be roughly the same as it was against Amorebieta, meaning he will likely field two different teams in each half. It will be interesting to see if he sticks with the same partnerships or decides to get some new looks on the pitch, especially in midfield. At the end of the day this match should serve as measuring stick for where the team is at the moment, but coming away with another convincing win would definitely be a nice added bonus.

Athletic Club Squad List: Yuri Berchiche, Unai Núñez, Yeray, Mikel San José, Ander Iturraspe, Iñaki Williams, Iker Muniain, Iñigo Córdoba, Asier Villalibre, Iago Herrerín, Iñigo Lekue, Oscar De Marcos, Sabin Merino, Aritz Aduriz, Dani García, Unai López, Alex Remiro, Cristian Ganea, Andoni López, Gorka Guruzeta, Peru Nolaskoain, Iñigo Vicente, Iñigo Muñoz, and Oihan Sancet.

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