Previewing West Ham vs Athletic Club
Athletic will face their biggest test of the preseason this weekend when they travel to face off with West Ham for the Bet Way Cup. Gaizka Garitano has already explained that he prefers to play stronger opponents during the summer and that wish will be granted on Sunday at London Stadium. With the La Liga season set to kick off in just two weeks this friendly will be extremely important for the Lions.
Garitano rested several key players during Thursday’s friendly against Numancia and called up a very serious squad for the trip to London. Iñigo Martinez was the only key player left behind. The defender recently returned from a muscle injury and started against Numancia. Garitano won’t risk the 28-year-old just two days later with the league opener on the horizon.
Besides Martinez, the stars will be on display in London in a match that will test just how far the team has come since the start of preseason. West Ham are a strong rival and, with the Premier League starting next weekend, will also be treating Saturday’s match as more than a simple friendly. Garitano will have the opportunity to analyze the true state of the squad and could even field a lineup similar to what he will use in the league opener against Barcelona.
As always, the ultimate will goal will be a strong performance and not picking up any injuries. That being said, the Basques have yet to lose a game this summer and will want to leave London with a victory to continue building confidence. After the Bet Way Cup, Athletic will travel to Racing Santander on Sunday for another friendly, but the Zurigorri are only focused on West Ham right now.
Probable Athletic Club IX: Iago Herrerín, Ander Capa, Unai Nuñez, Yeray, Yuri Berchiche, Dani García, Unai López, Ibai Gómez, Raúl García, Iker Muniain, Iñaki Williams