Previewing Getafe vs Athletic Club: La Liga Matchday 2
It’s been a week since Athletic’s thrilling win over Barcelona in the season opener, but the celebrations didn’t last long. The team quickly turned their attention to Getafe with the understanding that they would be facing yet another strong opponent. The Lions will travel to Coliseum Alfonso Pérez on Saturday for what Gaizka Garitano has called, “one of the most difficult matches of the season.”
Throughout history, matches between Athletic and Getafe have been tight. The two sides have only met 28 times with Athletic winning 10 and Getafe picking up 8 victories of their own. The last time Athletic took all three points against Getafe came back in January of 2016 with the following three games finishing as draws before Getafe defeated the Basques 1-0 at home in April of last season.
After last weekend’s loss to Atlético Madrid, Getafe will be motivated to earn their first points of the season in front of their own fans. José Bordalás’s side is known for defensive strength, physicality, and creativity going forward. Qualifying for Europe last season was no fluke either. Getafe enjoyed their best finish ever in the La Liga table and have kept the squad intact.
Getafe will have to make do without one half of their lethal attacking line. Captain Jorge Molina was shown a red card in the loss to Atlético which means that Jaime Mata will have a different strike partner against Athletic. The pair combined to score 32 goals for Getafe last season. The rest of the lineup will likely remain unchanged and eager to play at home.
Athletic may very well have more momentum than any other club in La Liga at the moment. Last Friday’s 1-0 win over Barcelona was an enthralling way to start the season and the players have no intentions of resting on the lone result. Gaizka Garitano’s system of being organized at the back, utilizing a high press, and direct attacking continues to yield fantastic results but will be put to the test against Getafe.
The Lions were without a few key players for the season opener but two players have returned. Ibai Gómez and Iñigo Martinez have both recovered from their injuries and could feature against Getafe. However, Garitano has historically been cautious with players just returning from injury. Iñigo Córdoba and Iñigo Lekue have also returned to normal training but weren’t ready to be named in the squad.
Getting a positive result against Getafe won’t be easy. Athletic will need to minimize mistakes, capitalize on their chances, and not give the ball away in dangerous areas. Getafe may be better known for their great defense, but their ability to put dangerous balls into the box will also test the Lions. Likewise, Athletic can create chances by attacking down the wings or looking to unleash the pace of Iñaki Williams. The match at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez will certainly be a game of chess but the key to victory will likely be whichever team can better control the midfield.
Projected Athletic Club XI: Unai Simón, Ander Capa, Unai Nuñez, Yeray, Yuri Berchiche, Dani García, Unai López, Ibai Gómez, Raúl García, Iker Muniain, and Iñaki Williams