Team Review: Athletic Bilbao in the 2013-14 Season

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Updated: July 28, 2014
FBL-ESP-LIGA-ATHLETIC- ESPANYO

La Liga Finish: Fourth

Match Results: W20-D10-L8

(Featured image: Athletic Bilbao | Source: sportsmole.co.uk)

 

Athletic Bilbao have never won La Liga since 1984 and their form last term did not make them strong enough to recoup the esteemed title. To be fair, however, the side were among the most consistent sides last season.  They were never out of the top six since the first week of competitions and even ranked within the top three on one occasion. They were sports betting frontrunners and have been the winning side in 20 non-consecutive fixtures. Only Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, and Real Madrid performed better than them.

 

Los Leones prepared for the season by tapping into the transfer market. During the summer window, the club signed five new players to play at San Mames while two more returned from their loan spells at other clubs. Real Betis’ Beñat Etxebarria was the most expensive signing of that window, having inked a three-season contract worth €8 million. Kike Sola and Mikel Rico were also lucrative acquisitions, who were paid to play for Bilbao for fees amounting to €4 million and €2.8 million, respectively. Meanwhile, 12 squad players moved out of the team (either due to contract expiration or for a loan spell) to play for other sides.

 

Bilbao produced one of the Spanish’s league top scorers as well as top assisters. Aritz Aduriz scored 16 goals all season through which made him the sixth (tied with Antoine Griezmann and Carlos Vela) highest scoring player of the tournament. Meanwhile, Markel Susaeta provided 12 incredible assist s for his teammates which served him well to rank fourth (alongside Gareth Bale and Vela) among those who produced the best passes for their teammates’ goals.

 

Ernesto Valverde’s men opened their La Liga campaign with two landslide victories: the first against Real Valladolid and the second against Osasuna. By the end of 2013, they managed to pull off a total of 10 wins, three draws, and only four defeats. Their last four matches in the season rendered them unbeaten (two wins, two stalemates).