Losing Ibai Gómez Costs Athletic Important Points Against Getafe
Athletic started Sunday’s match against Getafe as well as they could have hoped. The Lions controlled possession, were great in defense, and looked dangerous every time they had the ball. The Basques dominated the opening 15 minutes and there was reason to believe that they would be able to go on to take all three points in a difficult fixture. It wouldn’t last long.
Ibai Gómez landed awkwardly on his left ankle and was unable to continue. Markel Susaeta took his place on the field and everything changed. As Gómez left the pitch so too did Athletic’s spark. With Iker Muniain suspended, Gómez was really the only player available who was able to take on defenders and create chances. Once he took his place on the bench the Lions were unable to generate anything going forward.
The defense still played very well and the midfield was able to dictate the pace of play at times, but the attack suffered. Iñigo Córdoba looked to send crosses into the box to Raúl García while Iñaki Williams was mostly a counterattacking option. There was no dynamism, no ability to force holes in the Getafe defense. Athletic created just one goalscoring opportunity for the rest of the match and it was wasted.
Even worse, Susaeta was an absolute liability. The captain completed just 60% of his passes, a few of which were terribly overplayed, and lost the ball six times. There’s a reason why Susaeta has played limited minutes this season and he showed it against Getafe. Losing Gómez was one thing, but Susaeta’s poor performance added to the issue.
Based on the way Athletic started the game there was evidence that the Basques would be able to get a positive result at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. There’s no way to predict how a match will play out, but it’s safe to say that Ibai Gómez’s early injury changed the entire game. Instead of continuing to climb the table the Zurigorri went back home empty-handed and will need to top Rayo Vallecano on Sunday to keep pace in the race for Europe.