Previewing Athletic Club vs Getafe

Inaki Williams

Iñaki Williams scored in last year’s 2-2 draw against Getafe (LaLiga)

Athletic Club’s season has gone from bad to worse. Not only have the Lions gone 11 straight games without a victory, they currently find themselves in the relegation zone and in desperate need for a win. On Sunday they will welcome Getafe to the San Mamés and the time has come for Eduardo Berizzo’s team to show what they are made of. The manager has thrown down the gauntlet and the players must be ready to respond to the challenge.

History says that this a game that Athletic should win. The Basques have come away victorious 10 times in the 26 league meetings between the two, losing only 7 times. Getafe have not beaten Athletic since March of 2013, with their last win at the San Mamés coming a few months earlier in October. Athletic would then go on to win six straight games over Getafe, but the last two meetings ended in draws. Interestingly, three of the last six meetings have seen Getafe shown a red card.

It’s been an interesting season for Getafe. The team from southern Madrid currently sit 10th in the La Liga table, but have sputtered over their last two games where they only managed to pick up a single point. Getafe have been one of the better defensive sides in Spain, surrendering just 10 goals, but have found it hard to generate offense. They like to play a defensive style of football and attack down the wings, which will demand attention from Athletic’s fullbacks.

Jorsé Bordalás’s team come into Sunday’s game relatively healthy. Everyone from their normal starting lineup was all called up for the match and have also had two weeks to prepare just like Athletic. Leading scorers Jorge Molina and Ángel Rodríguez will present a problem for the Basque defense while Djené Dakonam and Leandro Cabrera have been fearsome center-back pairing this year.

Herrerin Celebrate

Athletic haven’t lost to Getafe since March of 2013 (LaLiga)

It’s no secret that the season hasn’t gone as expected for Athletic. The Lions are currently 18th in the table and needs points to start climbing out of the drop zone. Athletic’s 3-2 loss to Atlético Madrid before the international break was arguably the best game they have played all year and the players have been vocal about the fact that they need to build on the good things they did at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Eduardo Berizzo will be without some key players on Sunday. Yeray recently returned to training after recovering from a groin strain, but has not been cleared to play yet. Unai Nuñez will once again start in his place. Meanwhile, Yuri Berchiche will be serving the first of his three game suspension. He’s played every minute so far this season and now the baton will be passed to Mikel Balenziaga for the next few matches.

On paper this is a game that Athletic are capable of winning. That being said, the matchup will be difficult. The Lions have done very well against attacking sides this year, but have struggled against opponents who are content to play a defense style of football like Getafe. As Berizzo stated in his pregame press conference there is no more room for excuses. It’s time for the Zurigorri to show what they are made of and secure a big win in front of their own fans at the San Mamés.

Projected Athletic Club XI: Iago Herrerín, Oscar de Marcos, Unai Nuñez, Iñigo Martinez, Mikel Balenziaga, Mikel San José, Beñat, Raúl García, Iker Muniain, Markel Susaeta, Iñaki Williams

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