Friday Friendlies Against Sevilla Give Athletic Another Chance To Prepare For The Season
The new season has just begun, but for Athletic it’s far from normal. After losing 2-0 to Granada in the opening game the Lions must now wait two weeks until the next match. Having such a long break gives the team plenty of time to reflect on the mistakes at Los Cármenes, but also the chance to address issues.
In a way, Athletic have been gifted another short preseason. The summer was already shorter than usual and several key players missed time with injuries or illnesses. Now, Gaizka Garitano will be able to bring the whole squad together to prepare for an importance stretch of games.
Like the preseason, training won’t be the only means of preparation. Athletic will play two friendlies against Sevilla on Friday night with both teams looking to take advantage of the break.
Garitano called up 28 players for the trip to Pinatar Arena, including Peru Nolaskoain, Gaizka Larrazabal, and Yuri Berchiche. The trio missed the entire preseason and didn’t play a single minute in friendlies. Being able to play against Sevilla will likely result in Berchiche starting the next league game, while Nolaskoain and Larrazabal must still earn their place in the team.
After being left out of the squad for the league opener, Iñigo Vicente will benefit from another chance to prove himself as well. Bilbao Athletic defenders Jon Sillero and Oier Luengo were also called up for the games along with Unai Vencedor, Jon Morcillo, and Oier Zarraga. Ibai Gómez misses out once again as he continues to recover from a fractured clavicle.
It’s unclear how Garitano will organize the team with two friendlies on the same night. Most likely the manager will field different lineups in both games with most players being on the field for the entire 90 minutes. Ultimately, it’s important for the team to be tested against an opponent like Sevilla. With extra time to prepare, anything other than a strong performance against Eibar next weekend will be unacceptable.