Eduardo Berizzo Will Test A Midfield Pairing Of Raúl García And Iker Muniain
Eduardo Berizzo has already made a few interesting changes to the Athletic Club team. He’s switched wings for Iñaki Williams and Iñigo Córdoba, transitioned Andoni López and Peru Nolaskoain to center-backs, and, most importantly, he’s made the decision to play Iker Muniain as the Mediapunta. In a press conference after Sunday’s 5-0 win over Barakaldo the manager made it clear that he thinks the role of playmaker is Muniain’s natural position.
Muniain’s move is exciting based on the fact that he’s played the best football of his career over the past two years, mainly as a playmaker. A permanent switch to the position will look to capitalize on his strengths and give the team a unique talent to tie everything together in attack. However, it will also impact Raúl García who has played in that role since arriving in 2015 and there has been confusion over what this will mean for the 32-year-old.
Raúl García could spend some time on the wing which is where he played the most minutes for Atlético Madrid under Diego Simeone, but he could also feature as a striker behind Aritz Aduriz. He’s proven to be a dangerous goal-scorer and his leadership on the pitch would be sorely missed if he was relegated to coming off of the bench. So, why not utilize Raúl García and Iker Muniain together? That seems to be what Berizzo has in mind.
According to a report from Nika Cuenca of Fiebre Rojiblanca, Eduardo Berizzo will test a midfield pairing of Raúl García and Muniain to see how the team functions with both players together. The original plan was to try the duo in Sunday’s friendly against Barakaldo, but a training injury ruled Raúl García out for the match and now the trial will have to wait until the next game.
There is plenty of curiosity over how the pairing would work. Neither player is exceptional defensively which could leave the team vulnerable to attacks, but new signing Dani García has shown the ability to play as a single pivot with two attacking midfielder in front of him. Perhaps the pair would play alongside each other, or maybe slightly askew with one further forward. At this point there is just no way of knowing until it happens on the pitch and even then it is only a test at this point.
Questions aside, if the two are able to play their best alongside each other it could lead to an even more lethal Athletic attack. Raúl García and Iker Muniain have the ability to change the outcome of games so it only makes sense to try to find a way to keep them both on the field. The idea does sound exciting, but for now Berizzo is just looking to test the theory in friendly matches which makes this the story to watch over the next few weeks.