The Williams brothers propel Athletic Club to their best La Liga start in 66 years
In the Basque side’s last win, Nico Williams assisted an early goal from Iñaki Williams, before the older brother returned the favor in the second half.
athletic club have long considered each other family and that was literally the case on Friday, when the Iñaki brothers and Nico Williams propelled the team to a stunning 4-0 victory at home to Almería. The two brothers both scored for the second game in a row, making them the club’s top scorers with Álex Berenguer and Oihan Sancet on three goals apiece, powering Athletic Club’s best start ever. The league Santander season in 66 years.
As you would expect from two players who grew up in the same household, Iñaki and Nico have a real understanding on the pitch and that was evident in the opening goal against Almería, when Nico sent in an inviting cross that ‘Iñaki skillfully threw away. corner before kissing his younger brother, eight years his junior. After Sancet doubled Athletic’s lead, Iñaki returned the favor to his brother with a short pass through the feet of Nico, who shoved away a defender to score from close range.
It was the second game in a row in which Iñaki and Nico have both scored, following the 3-2 win over Rayo Vallecano last month, when they became the first group of brothers to score in the same game in LaLiga Santander for the Athletic Club from Eneko. and Antón Arieta in 1965. They are the first brothers to score in the same LaLiga Santander match for any club since Gabi and Diego Milito scored for Real Zaragoza against Barcelona in 2005.
Both players are in career form and both are set to compete in the World Cup in Qatar, but for different teams. Nico made his debut for Spain last month in the UEFA Nations League, while Iñaki made his first two appearances for Ghana, where his parents were born.
“These weeks have been incredible for us and for our family,” Iñaki said. “I hope we can continue to do this for many years to come. But, I always tell Nico to just enjoy the moment.
Athletic Club ranks third
Athletic Club are also enjoying the moment, sitting third in the La Liga table with 16 points, just three behind leaders Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Goals are also pouring in: Ernesto Valverde’s side have scored at least three times in their last three league games, something that hasn’t happened for eight years when Valverde was also at the helm and that the club finished fourth in LaLiga Santander. and qualify for the Champions League.
Valverde has secured European football in each of the six seasons he has been in charge of the club for two spells and, after making a spectacular start to his third spell at San Mamés, there are every chance this fantastic record will continue this season.
Another key to their rise has been a marked improvement in defence, a hallmark of Valverde’s teams over the years. Helped by the form of goalkeeper Unai Simón, who is sure to be Spain’s number one at the World Cup, they have conceded just four goals in seven matches, giving them the third-best defensive record in LaLiga Santander.
They also have the third strongest attack, with their tally of 16 goals bettered only by Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. While the Williams brothers may have been in the news lately due to their unique history, midfielder Sancet has also been in terrific form since moving to a more advanced position, scoring in of his last three games.
With a club icon back in the dugout and with young local stars firing full throttle, fans are also doing their part with the help of the launch of the Popular animation levela singing section set up to improve the atmosphere at Sam Mamés this season.
“I hope the fans enjoy it as much as we do,” said vice-captain Óscar de Marcos. “Football is here and now and we are playing at a very high level at the moment and we want to extend it. We are in great shape at the moment and we have to make the most of it.