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Villarreal vs Athletic Club: La Liga Preview

Unai Emery’s side takes on the Basque giants in an important league match

C.A. Osasuna v Villarreal CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

No rest for the weary in football. After Saturday’s win against Osasuna, we are right back at it facing Athletic Club, the Basque Club who has never been relegated. Athletic has had a frustrating season so far, sitting in 10th place in La Liga, but they are talented and will be a challenge for us to say the least.

Our Opponents

Athletic Club boast what for me is the best goalkeeper in Spain, Unai Simon. One of the challenges in facing them is that you could do everything correct and still see the shot saved by an incredible keeper. Going the other direction, Inaki Williams is their attacking talisman, though I can’t for the life of me figure out why. For about three years now he has been, for me, one of the most overrated players in the league. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a smart football player and his constant running is taxing on opposing back lines, but he has very little end product for the reputation he carries. They will also get Raul Garcia, a player I absolutely despise, back from suspension.


Emery carefully managed his subs against Osasuna to manage our slowly improving injury situation. Moi Gomez looks like he’ll be ready to start and Pervis Estupinan was saved enought that I think he’ll be able to go a full 90 in this one if he needs to. If we can get a performance from Fer Nino at the center forward position like the one we got in Pamplona, I think this match will go well. Here’s my predicted XI:


I’ve gotten to the point where I trust Unai Emery a lot. Getting Moi Gomez back will be huge, I think, in possession, so as long as Jaume can hold down the base of the midfield I think we can get a 2-1 win here.