Athletic had eight days to prepare for Monday’s match against Espanyol and were determined to end their winless streak. The Lions had gone nine straight games without picking up a victory and hadn’t won on the road against the Catalans since January of 2018. Everything was working against the Basques who put up a strong fight in Barcelona.
For the second straight game Athletic started strong. They pressed well, kept possession, and were able to generate a few decent chances in front of goal. Espanyol were resined to defend deep and wait for their chances on the counter. As the first half passed by Eduardo Berizzo’s team looked good, but still just couldn’t find a way to put the ball past the keeper. They would pay for it in the 41st minute.
Didac Vilá sent in a long cross to the back post where Borja Iglesias beat Iñigo Martinez and headed the ball into the back of the goal to make it 1-0 for the home side. Martinez seemed to have the forward covered but lost him when the ball was in the air which resulted in an open header that Iago Herrerín was unable to save. Athletic tried to respond quickly with Iñaki Williams and Raúl García both getting good chances, but went into the break without a goal.
The second half saw the game open up quite a bit and both teams were able to create chances. Espanyol actually should have scored another goal or two, but were unable to direct their shots on goal. Likewise, Athletic were more direct, especially after Iker Muniain and Markel Susaeta entered the game. Despite all their efforts the final whistle blew with Athletic having played yet another decent game, but with nothing to show for it as they lost 1-0 and are now in a serious battle against relegation.
To make things worse, Yeray and Raúl García were both injured during the match and could miss Saturday’s game against Atletico Madrid. Dani García will certainly be unavailable for that fixture as he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season and will have to serve a one game suspension. Having now gone 10 games without a win there is major concern about Athletic Club moving forward and manager Eduardo Berizzo is running out of time to fix the issues.