Iñigo Martinez, Ibai Gómez, And Iñigo Córdoba In Danger Of Missing La Liga Opener
Now that the preseason has finally ended it’s all eyes on Barcelona as Athletic prepare for Friday night’s La Liga opener at San Mamés. The Lions have looked strong throughout the summer and are confident in their ability to secure a positive result against the reigning league champions. It won’t be an easy game by any stretch, but injuries could make it even more difficult.
Three potential starters are all in danger of missing the match against Barcelona. Iñigo Martinez last played in the friendly against Roma but has since missed two straight training sessions. The defender suffered a relapse in the muscle injury that saw him miss the first few weeks of preseason training and has been working individually with trainer Xabi Clemente. When it comes to muscle relapses, clubs have to take every precaution which means that Martinez likely won’t be cleared, or risked, on Friday night. Unai Nuñez will be expected to start in his place alongside Yeray.
Ibai Gómez has yet to return to training at Lezama as well. The winger missed the final two friendlies with calf discomfort and has been sidelined for nearly a week now. With only three sessions left until Friday’s match, it’s highly unlikely that Gómez will be ready either. His competition, Iñigo Córdoba, is also doubtful.
Córdoba suffered a blow against Roma and sat out Friday’s session out of precaution. The 22-year-old then returned on Sunday and didn’t show any signs of issues, but was kept out on Monday once again. If he and Gómez are both unavailable, Gaizka Larrazabal or Oscar De Marcos could start on the right-wing. Córdoba seems to be the one most likely to be cleared to play in the season opener, but Gaizka Garitano could be without the trio entirely.
Thankfully, there doesn’t appear to be any concern about the availability of Iñaki Williams. The striker has been dealing with an infected toenail for about a week but has been training normally and should start against Barcelona. Being without important players will put Athletic in an even more challenging situation, but Garitano has a very strong squad to choose from and the Lions are determined to take points off of the reigning La Liga champions at home.