Villarreal at Athletic Club: La Liga preview



We haven’t beaten Athletic Club since 2018. Stop for a moment and consider how drastically the world is different from the one back then. We travel to one of the fiercest grounds in Spain, desperately in need of a win, and we face a team that we haven’t beaten since September of that year, in a game where our goal scorers are. … get ready … Pablo Fornals, Ramiro Funes Mori and Karl Toko Ekambi.

Our adversaries

Under Marcelino, Athletic Club is, unsurprisingly, an absolute penalty to try and play. They are in 9th place in the standings and, like us, have only lost once, drawing four. They have only scored seven goals so far this season, with only Inaki Williams and Inigo Martinez in double digits. In our history, we have drawn Athletic Club seven times, five of which are 1-1. This is the second highest number of draws against a single opponent. (We have the most draws against Espanyol, a tally we have already added this season).

A tactical note to watch out for, Athletic Club don’t attempt a ton of crosses – halfway down the road in La Liga – but they complete more crosses than every other team in the division except five, so their danger comes from this genre. of situations. They’ve created chances very well this season but haven’t been very good at converting and we hope they don’t come back to average against us.

Our score against the Young Boys, as I guess you all know, was flattering. I’ll have to get into a pod with Allen here soon to have a full conversation about Gero because I’m really convinced at this point he’s become a really good Guardian under Emery’s system. It was wonderful to see Samu on the pitch and score with his first touch at UCL, and hopefully it becomes a half hour or so, maybe we can see some of it tomorrow. We had a sufficiently long break between these matches that in addition to changing injured Albiol, I did not expect too much rotation.

There is also a very real discussion to be had at our left-back position. Alberto was very good in the sections and Pedraza probably didn’t quite have the same level he peaked last season.


1-1. Sorry.


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