Previewing Getafe vs Athletic Club: La Liga Matchday 31
The La Liga season is nearing its inevitable end. Only eight games remain on the schedule and every single point will be vitally important for Athletic who are deep in a race for European qualification. On Sunday the Zurigorri will have the chance to move within one point of 4th place when they travel to Getafe. It will be one of the most difficult games the Lions have played all year and they are full of confidence.
Athletic and Getafe have met just 27 times throughout history with the Basques winning 10 times. Results have certainly been in Athletic’s favor over the past few years as well. The Basques haven’t lost to Getafe since March of 2013 but have played to draws in the last three fixtures. Matches between the two have often been physical and that will likely be the case once again on Sunday.
Getafe have lost just once in their last 9 games but are currently on a three-game winless streak. During that stretch they’ve seen their grasp of 4th place fall away and will be desperate to pick up three important points. Interestingly, Getafe have lost 5 times at home this season. They’ve been better on the road which could put things in Athletic’s favor this weekend.
Regardless of recent results, there’s a reason Getafe have been the 4th best team in La Liga this season. They boast one of the strongest defenses, having conceded just 27 goals, while also having one of the most dangerous attacks in all of Spain. Forwards Jaime Mata and Jorge Molina have combined for 23 goals this season and no one has been able to slow them down.
Athletic come into the game as one of the hottest teams in La Liga. The Lions have picked up the 4th most points in the league since Gaizka Garitano took over as manager and have won their last three matches and five of their last seven. The Basques may have lost just twice since the coaching change, but both of those defeats came on the road against strong opposition.
Gaizka Garitano will have some difficult decisions to make in regards to the lineup. Iker Muniain and Ander Capa are both unavailable, but Dani García will make his return from injury. Even better, Aritz Aduriz is back in the squad for the first time since suffering a knee injury back in January. Oscar De Marcos is expected to take Capa’s place at right-back which leaves the manager with several options to play on the wing, including Ibai Gómez who have been in fantastic form as of late.
Like Athletic, Getafe don’t really care about possession. When they have the ball they want to do something with it which means that Sunday’s match could be very open. If the Zurigorri are going to bring three points back to Bilbao they will have to shut down Getafe’s electric forwards and find ways to create chances against a strong defense. Garitano’s side will likely turn to crosses and an aerial game to take Getafe out of their comfort zone, though the biggest key will be controlling the midfield and an organized defense. Three points are on the line and so is Europe.
Projected Athletic Club XI: Iago Herrerín, Oscar De Marcos, Yeray, Iñigo Martinez, Yuri Berchiche, Dani García, Beñat, Ibai Gómez, Raúl García, Iñigo Córdoba, Iñaki Williams