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Athletic Club: Eduardo Berizzo living on the edge in Bilbao

Athletic Club: Eduardo Berizzo living on the edge in Bilbao

There have been several surprising LaLiga clubs thus far in 2018-19, and they have been seen at both ends of the table. Espanyol and Alavés continue to earn crucial points in the campaign’s early stages, and it will be interesting to see if they can challenge for a top-four place during the coming months. In the other direction, Athletic Club and manager Eduardo Berizzo are one of the sides failing to impress in the Spanish top flight.

Los Leones are currently in 17th after 11 league games, just one point above the relegation places. Athletic have won only one match thus far, their opener against Leganés in August. Those 11 fixtures have produced 11 goals, and the squad have truly struggled with putting opponents away when they have the opportunity.

Athletic have drawn seven of their first 11 league matches. After flirting with relegation last term, this has obviously not been the ideal start for Berizzo’s side.

In each of their past two encounters against Valencia and Espanyol, they have been unable to score a goal. Young talent such as Iñaki Williams and Yeray Álvarez continue their progression, as they are surrounded by strong experience within the team. The likes of Iker Muniain, Raúl García, Aritz Aduriz and Markel Susaeta provide leadership and can still get it done on the pitch. However, Berizzo’s line-up choices are not letting the club fully flourish.

The Argentine tactician has made a habit out of tinkering with his selections, experimenting with different players and various formation modifications. Ultimately, this has been having a negative effect, specifically when he drops players in good form. A home loss versus Valencia inexplicably featured Williams on the bench. Without his talents up front, Berizzo’s 4-3-3 alignment did not deliver a goal.

As one of only three LaLiga sides that can claim to have never been relegated from the first division (Barcelona and Real Madrid being the other two), Athletic’s hierarchy will surely not stand for many more disappointing results. Berizzo’s best course of action will be to find the right combination of individuals for his squad, and stick with it.

Athletic Club have not been consistent in 2018-19, and part of that is due to manager Eduardo Berizzo. His recent run with Sevilla was cut short due to poor results, and history may repeat itself for him at the San Mamés if he does not change things soon.