Previewing Alavés vs Athletic Club: LaLiga Matchday 5
If Athletic haven’t hit rock bottom it’s getting very close. Thursday night’s disaster against Cadíz showed that changes need to be made. The team’s chances of competing for Europe already look to be over just three games into the season, but a win in Sunday’s Basque Derby could go a long way towards building some positive momentum.
Athletic visit Mendizorrotza on Sunday where the Lions have struggled in recent years. The last five trips to Alavés have ended with three losses and two draws. In fact, Athletic haven’t beaten Alavés on the road since the El Glorioso returned to the Primera in 2016. Gaizka Garitano’s side will be hoping to break that streak this weekend.
Alavés come into the game sitting at the bottom of the La Liga table with just a single point. Arguably more desperate than Athletic, Alavés need a good result to start moving away from the relegation zone. Without fans in attendance El Glorioso lack an important advantage on Sunday.
Once again the Lions will be without Yeray, Peru Nolaskoain, Ibai Gómez, and Óscar de Marcos. On the other hand, new signing Alex Berenguer has been included in the squad and could make his debut against Alavés. The rest of the squad remained unchanged, though Garitano is expected to make some adjustments to the lineup after playing Cadíz just three days prior.
History suggests that Athletic should struggle at Mendizorrotza, but the team is determined to rebound from the loss to Cadíz. Regardless of the who takes the field Athletic boast a much stronger squad than Alavés and coming away with anything less than all three points would be a disappointing result. The calendar just turned to October and already points are at a premium.
Projected Athletic Club XI: Unai Simón, Ander Capa, Unai Núñez, Iñigo Martínez, Yuri Berchiche, Dani García, Mikel Vesga, Iñaki Williams, Oihan Sancet, Iñigo Córdoba, Asier Villalibre