Previewing Athletic Club vs Cadíz: LaLiga Matchday 4
Nearly 15 years have passed since Athletic and Cadíz played a game of football against each other. The last meeting came all the way back in March of 2006 with Tiko scoring a 93rd minute penalty to give Athletic a 1-0 win at the old San Mamés. Much has changed since then, but the two historic sides will finally face off once again when Cadíz visits the Cathedral on Sunday.
Athletic have won 14 of the 26 total fixtures between the two. Eleven of those victories came at San Mamés where the Zurigorri have never lost to Cadíz. History suggests Athletic should be able to take all three points on Thursday night, but the past means very little.
Newly promoted Cadíz look strong to start the season despite suffering two losses. Entering their 5th season under manager Álvaro Cervera, Cadíz have defined style of play built around counter-attacking football. The addition of veteran Álvaro Negredo also gives Cadíz a proven striker to lead the front line.
Coming off of a big 2-1 win over Eibar, Athletic enter Thursday’s match hoping to pick up build on the momentum. Gaizka Garitano’s side looked impressive at Ipurua by controlling the game and creating chances in the final third. Finishing will once again be a key to victory.
Garitano will be without four players for the match. Yeray, Peru Nolaskoain, and Ibai Gómez are still sidelined with injuries, while Óscar De Marcos was also ruled out after leaving training with ankle soreness. With several defenders unavailable, Aitor Paredes received his first call up to the first team.
Athletic may have played the Basque Derby on Sunday, but there likely won’t be any changes to the lineup. Garitano said during Wednesday’s press conference that the team had enough time to rest, though admitted that won’t be the case for next weekend’s trip to Alavés.
Unai Simón will continue in goal with Ander Capa, Unai Núñez, Iñigo Martínez, and Yuri Berchiche lining up in defense. The partnership of Dani García and Unai López is expected to stay together, especially with the latter scoring both goals in the win over Eibar. Jon Morcillo, Iker Muniain, and Iñaki Williams round out the attack led by Raúl García.
Limiting mistakes will be important against a Cadíz side that thrives on counter-attacks. Athletic’s midfield must dictate play, but the team will also have to take some risks to create chances in front of goal. The Basques won’t have the fans to make San Mamés a fortress on Thursday. Still, Athletic boast quality to control the game and pick up a second straight win to keep climbing the table.
Projected Athletic Club XI: Unai Simón, Ander Capa, Unai Núñez, Iñigo Martínez, Yuri Berchiche, Dani García, Unai López, Iñaki Williams, Iker Muniain, Jon Morcillo, Raúl García