Athletic Club 2-0 Real Sociedad: Postgame Player Ratings
Athletic played their best game of the season on Friday night, beating Real Sociedad 2-0 at San Mamés in the latest Basque Derby. The Zurigorri dominated the match from start to finish and could have scored even more goals. Defensively the Lions were as solid as ever and going forward the team was able to create chances with ease and intensity. The entire team played at a very high level in what was a truly impressive performance.
Unai Simón 6/10
The Athletic defense has been outstanding this season and once again kept Unai Simón from having much to do at all. Throughout the match the goalkeeper only had to make two saves, neither particularly simple, but continued to do a good job of leading the backline. The only issue came when Simón crashed into Iñigo Martinez trying to catch a cross. The play resulted in Real Sociedad scoring but it was eventually ruled offside. While the goal may not have counted, it’s still an area of Simón’s game that needs improvement.
Ander Capa 9/10
Ander Capa has been the best right-back in La Liga this season and was one of the top choices for Man of the Match for the third straight game. Aside from providing yet another key assist, his third so far, the 27-year-old caused constant problems for Real Sociedad. Capa won two dribbles, made 2 interception, 3 clearances, and won an important tackle. La Real couldn’t do anything on his side of the field though Capa did commit two fouls and lost possession once.
It was a quiet night from Yeray, but not a poor performance. The center-back was always in position to stop attacks and truthfully didn’t have much to deal with. Although he didn’t have a single tackle or interception the 24-year-old did make 3 clearances, won 3 headers, and nearly scored a goal from a corner kick.
Iñigo Martinez 7/10
Making his season debut Iñigo Martinez was solid as usual. The center-back won 2 tackles, 2 interception, 2 headers, and didn’t commit a single foul against his former club. Martinez was composed in defense and picked up right where he left off last season in terms of his partnership with Yeray.
Yuri Berchiche 9/10
While Ander Capa is proving to be La Liga’s best right-back, Yuri Berchiche is doing the same on the left side of the defense. Berchiche had 62 touches on the ball, more than any other Athletic player, and was electric going forward. His two rocketed shots forced the goalkeeper to make diving saves and defensively he was excellent. The former Real defender won 4 tackles and 3 interceptions to keep the visitors from being able to string passes together down the wing.
Dani García 10/10
Dani García’s performances have improved with each passing game and on Friday night he was at his very best. The midfielder controlled the pace of play and was regularly in position to cut off a dangerous pass or completely take the ball away from Real Sociedad. García led the team with 5 tackles and also won 2 headers and he shut down La Real’s playmakers. As usual, the statistics as a whole may not look overly impressive but from start to finish Dani García influenced the match more than anyone else on the pitch.
Unai López 7/10
After being replaced by Beñat in the lineup against Getafe, Unai López needed a strong showing to continue earning minutes. The midfielder did not disappoint. While Dani García protected the backline, López was free to push further up and linked well with the forwards to keep possession and cycle the ball around quickly. The Lezama product led the team with 3 key passes and connected on 3 of his 5 crosses.
Iker Muniain 7/10
Combining with Ander Capa, Iker Muniain was a handful for Real Sociedad at San Mamés. The Captain was always looking to take the ball forward and won 2 dribbles while also proving 2 key passes. Muniain also had a very important tackle and was allowed to drift inside at times which pulled defenders out of position.
Raúl García 8/10
There’s no denying the impact that Raúl García has on matches every weekend. The midfielder continues to turn up with big goals for Athletic and did so yet again in the Basque Derby. Rulo’s left-footed half-chipped goal was a thing of beauty and showed his impressive quality. García was also a force in the midfield, shutting down Martin Ødegaard with 3 tackles and also proving a key pass that nearly led to another Athletic goal.
Iñigo Córdoba 7/10
Iñigo Córdoba has been a special player for Gaizka Garitano since the manager took over in December and was finally able to make his first appearance of the season. Many expected Ibai Gómez to be selected for the starting lineup but the manager put his faith in Córdoba and it was rewarded. The winger completed 88% of his passes, more than any other Athletic player, and provided a key pass while also putting himself in scoring positions. Córdoba’s work rate is always strong and allowed him to make 2 interceptions while regularly linking up with Berchiche.
Iñaki Williams 8/10
Controversial comments leading up to the Derby made it absolutely necessary for Iñaki Williams to have a great performance. The striker essentially called out Real Sociedad and needed to back up his words which is exactly what he did. Just 11 minutes into the game Williams opened up the scoring and his pace was a constant issue for the defense. He also provided a key pass, won two dribbles, and didn’t shy away from tracking back to help the team defensively.
Beñat came on for Unai López in the second half but didn’t really have time to make an impact. The midfielder completed 10 of his 11 passes and won a tackle, but did little else in his limited minutes.
Ibai Gómez 5/10
Bringing on Ibai Gómez for Iñigo Córdoba gave Athletic another spark in attack late in the game. Gómez had one shot on target inside the box but failed to test the goalkeeper with two set-piece efforts from close range. The winger showed flashes that will hopefully lead to goals with more minutes moving forward.
Aritz Aduriz 5/10
Aritz Aduriz came on for Iñaki Williams with just 4 minutes left and was forced to contribute more defensively than in attack as Real Sociedad desperately searched for a goal. The striker touched the ball just two times but did made a tackle.
Gaizka Garitano 10/10
Another match, another flawless management performance from Gaizka Garitano. The Mister got everything right from the motivation and lineup to the second half changes and adjustments throughout the game. Garitano’s system has brought structure and terrific results and Athletic are proving that they will be competing for Europe this season.