So, how well are we doing lately? Certainly we’ve had an admirable string of results. We’ve won three consecutive matches in La Liga, climbing up the table to just one point out of European spots. Add in two ties and a win in Europa and another win for the Copa, and we’re undefeated in our last seven matches. Not too shabby. Though, one could argue that the competition hasn’t been exactly top tier. The Liga wins were against Betis, Espanyol, and Granada, the Copa against a lower division side, and the Europa matches weren’t exactly elite teams either. Enter Athletic Bilbao: a much more serious test.
Athletic Bilbao won’t care much about our recent track record. Because they’ve consistently impressive all year presently sitting at fourth in the table in the prized final Champions League spot. I’m sure they have little desire to give that spot up.
The lead story for this match is likely to be the absence of Rakitic. How will Emery adjust the team to make sure it doesn’t lose its connection between defense and offense? How do we make sure that someone is providing service to whoever starts up front? Who in the world is going to play and in what formation? Still no Marin, but Vitolo is back.
Here’s the team, your guess is as good as mine. If we pass this test, I think we can start dreaming a bit bigger for this team.
Beto, Varas; Diogo, Coke, Navarro, Moreno, Cala, Fazio, Carriço; Iborra, Mbia, Cristóforo, Jairo, Rabello, Vitolo, Perotti; Bacca, Gameiro, Rusescu y Reyes.