7 Winners And Losers From Athletic’s 6-1 Win Over Arenas Club
The first friendly of the preseason is in the books after Athletic put five second-half goals past Arenas on Saturday to win 6-1 at Fadura. It was a dominant showing from the Lions where several players had an important chance to show what they can do as they try to convince the manager. Some made the most of the opportunity, but for others it was a match to forget.
Unai López – Winner
Unai López partnered Mikel Vesga in midfield to start the match and looked fantastic. The 23-year-old passed the ball well, kept possession, won a few challenges, and created chances. He even won a dribble and tried to curl a shot into the far corner which was blocked and cleaned up by Aritz Aduriz for the first goal. After a year of barely seeing the field, performances like this are sure to earn López more minutes.
Mikel Vesga – Loser
It was a lackluster performance from Mikel Vesga, nothing great and nothing bad. However, after returning from a strong loan spell with Leganés the midfielder is hoping to earn a permanent place at Athletic. He will have to do more as the summer goes on to show that he can actually contribute in a positive way this season. The midfield is full and failing to perform will see minutes stripped.
Gaizka Larrazabal – Winner
Gaizka Larrazabal is expected to stay with the first team this season and showed why against Arenas. The winger was able to beat his defender several times, help out defensively, and put several good balls into the box, one of which nearly led to a goal from Aduriz. Pace and physicality are strengths that can’t be taught and Larrazabal demonstrated both consistently. More performances like this will give the 21-year-old a great chance of earning a role this season.
Iñigo Córdoba – Loser
Since being promoted to the first team three years ago, Iñigo Córdoba has shown signs of brilliance but has never been able to take that next step. Last season he struggled with decision making and routinely gave the ball away around the box. It was the same story against Arenas as the 22-year-old lost possession six times and failed to connect on some potentially great passes. Córdoba offers a lot of versatility on the left-wing but must show that he can protect the ball and create chances if he’s going to see more minutes going forward.
Iñigo Vicente – Winner
Iñigo Vicente knows it will be difficult to earn a place in the team this season due to the level of competition, but he’s determined to convince the manager. Saturday’s performance at Fadura will certainly go a long way toward achieving that goal. Playing on the left-wing, Vicente scored a goal inside the box and assisted Iñaki Williams just seconds later. The 21-year-old looked confident and comfortable and is doing all the right things to show Garitano that he can contribute to the team this season.
Iago Herrerín – Loser
Fans are ready to jump on Iago Herrerín anytime the goalkeeper makes a mistake and he didn’t do himself any favors int he first half against Arenas. The hosts opened up the scoring after half an hour with a long shot from outside the box. Nacho Matador’s effort was low, but it was also weak and Herrerín should have been able to make the save. The 32-year-old did well with balls in the air and passing out of the back, but surrendering one goal like that can be the difference between winning and losing in La Liga. With Unai Simón breathing down his neck Herrerín can’t afford to make mistakes.
Oihan Sancet – Winner
Oihan Sancet won’t be leaving on loan and could even be handed a permanent place in the first team. His performance against Arenas showed why. The midfielder assisted on two goals, was strong on the ball, didn’t give away possession, and read the game well. Still just 19 years old, Sancet has all the qualities needed to become an exceptional midfielder who can succeed in any role. If he can show the same level against stronger competition this summer, Sancet could see minutes in La Liga this year.