The Return Of Asier Benito Gives Bilbao Athletic Needed Depth At Striker

Vicente Benito

Iñigo Vicente and Asier Benito celebrate a late goal against Vitoria (Zabaleta)

It’s been a rocky season for Bilbao Athletic, especially after seeing Gaizka Garitano take over the first team and Aritz Solabarrieta named as the new manager. Over the past month the Katxorros have won games at Lezama but lost every match away from home. The team has played well for the most part, but mistakes and a lack of options in attack have caused major problems.

Asier Villalibre’s return to Bilbao Athletic can’t be understated. Instead of leaving on loan  to the Segunda once again, the decision was made that he would stay at the club where he would have the chance to rediscover his best form and find his confidence. It’s been a massively successful decision. Villalibre has been one of the best strikers in the Segunda B, scoring 11 goals so far this season while also providing 2 assists.

One constant problem, however, has been the lack of options behind Villalibre. Jon Morcillo, who was promoted from CD Basconia over the summer, has featured extensively as a winger and Asier Benito has spent most of the season on the sidelines with an injury. Benito was a big part of the team’s success last season, scoring 12 goals, and he’s finally healthy and ready to contribute.

Benito made his return from injury back in early December in a 3-1 loss to Sporting when he came off the bench for Jesus Areso in the second half. The striker would make his presence felt in the following game when he assisted the winning goal in a 3-2 victory over Calahorra at Lezama. Since then Benito has been able to score two goals and is finally starting to find his rhythm in the team once again.

There is no question that Villalibre will continue as the start for Bilbao Athletic, but having Benito available gives the team needed depth and more options in attack. The goal is still to qualify for the promotional playoffs which will be difficult, but it is still a possibility and will take a group effort to start stringing victories together starting with Sunday’s home game against Gimnástica.

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