Previewing Athletic Club vs Eibar: Preseason Friendly
Athletic’s short preseason will come to an end on Saturday. The Lions welcome Eibar to Lezama for the last friendly of the summer and what will be the final test before the La Liga opener six days later. Having been without several key players over the past few weeks, Gaizka Garitano will be hoping for a strong performance from the team.
The manager called up 20 players for the friendly, including Iñaki Williams, Unai López, and Iñigo Martinez. The trio will play their first minute of the preseason. Meanwhile, Yuri Berchiche misses out despite returning to training on Wednesday. The defender has been nursing a groin injury and may not be ready for the start of the season.
Iker Muniain, Raúl García, Yeray, and Dani García all sat out Friday’s friendly and will return to the lineup against Eibar. Once again, Unai Simón is unavailable as the goalkeeper is still with the Spain National Team. Jokin Ezkieta will start in goal for the Lions with another opportunity to prove that he’s ready to replace Iago Herrerín.
A few youth players will have one more chance to impress the manager as well. Ewan Urain, Nico Serrano, Beñat Prados, Jon Sillero, and Aitor Paredes were all included in the squad and should have minutes. More importantly, Jon Morcillo sat out Friday’s friendly in order to play against Eibar. The 21-year-old has been sensational this summer and could be in line to start next week at Los Cármenes.
Being unable to field a proper lineup all summer has been a challenge for Gaizka Garitano. The team needs rhythm and fitness with La Liga just around the corner. Although the final result won’t matter Saturday, assessments will be made and a win would give Athletic valuable momentum going into the trip to Granada.
Projected Athletic Club XI: Jokin Ezkieta, Óscar de Marcos, Yeray, Iñigo Martínez, Mikel Balenziaga, Dani García, Unai López, Iñaki Williams, Iker Muniain, Jon Morcillo, Raúl García