Athletic Bilbao

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Round 13

Athletic Bilbao 2 - 1 Levante
2019-11-10 13:00 More Reports
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Round 14

2019-11-24 13:00:00 More Previews
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Season Guide
2019/2020

Athletic Bilbao

In


Cristian Ganea (def) Numancia; Mikel Vesga (mid) Leganes

Out


Alex Remiro (sp) (gk) Real Sociedad; Mikel Rico (sp) (mid) Huesca; Ander Iturraspe (sp) (mid) Espanyol; Markel Susaeta (sp) (mid) Released; Xabier Etxeita (sp) (def) Released

Last year, Athletic Club had a season of two halves. Under Eduardo Berizzo they were battling relegation at the bottom, but the arrival of Gaizka Garitano in December turned their fortunes around. Had the season started when Garitano took over as coach then Athletic Club would have finished fifth. It has been a very quiet summer at Athletic Club. As they have a policy of only signing Basque players, they never make much of a noise in the transfer market and have yet to bring in any players from the outside except from Cristian Ganea and Mikel Vesga returning from loans. Instead, they’ll promote youth from their prestigious academy. There have been some departures, but they’ve really only lost veteran players who were past their prime anyway. The squad isn’t, therefore, much different to what it was last season. There are some really good players throughout this squad and fans are optimistic now that they have Garitano as coach from the start of the season. One of their main strengths is their ability to counter-attack as Inaki Williams is so quick and so devastating on the break. They have a solid defence too, one able to win the ball back and launch these quick attacks from the back. One potential weakness is at the centre-forward position. Natural centre-forward Aritz Aduriz is now 38 and isn’t the player he once was, while Williams isn’t a natural No.9 even if he is often asked to play there.

Target


Europa League qualification. Athletic Club just missed out on the final Europa League spot last season. This year, with Garitano in charge from the start, they’ll expect to return to Europe.

Season Review
2018/2019

№8: Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Club’s season was a season of two halves. They went from fighting against relegation to trying to qualify for Europe and they ultimately finished eighth, just outside the Europa League spots. The season started with Eduardo Berizzo as coach, but things didn’t go well. They were 18th and in the relegation zone when the decision was taken to sack Berizzo and to bring in Gaizka Garitano, who had been working as the B team coach. Under Garitano, they were immediately better as he simplified things in a tactical sense. They were so good under Garitano that had the season started when he took over then Athletic Club would have come fifth. In terms of key players, the central defensive pairing of Yeray Alvarez and Inigo Martinez deserve a lot of credit. So too does Inaki Williams, who was the club’s top scorer with 13 LaLiga goals as he played at centre-forward, a position that was quite new to him as he has usually been a winger. Williams had to play at centre-forward as Aritz Aduriz began to show his age. So for next season Athletic Club really need to sign another striker, although this could be difficult given their Basque-only policy. There could be quite a lot of change in the squad this summer as there were presidential elections and a new board was elected during this past season and they’ll want to make their mark on the team.


Player of the Season: Inaki Williams

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