Player of the Weekend
Club football is now well and truly back underway after a winter break across the continent, that saw only the Premier League provide us with breathless action.
The debate over the benefits of a mid-season rest rumbles on in certain spheres, but if there is one player looking like he’s full of energy and running in 2019, it’s Iñaki Williams. Athletic Bilbao’s 24-year-old striker is becoming the talisman of Los Leones in a time where they need one the most – they’re currently flirting with relegation.
Whilst not often seen at the other end of the table either in modern times, the San Mames side are certainly not supposed to be even in the discussion of a relegation which would be the first in their history. Therefore, performances and moments created by their Basque Region-only playing staff, are becoming more important than ever… step forward Williams.
In a meeting against Sevilla, a side who had comfortably beaten them in the Copa del Rey just days earlier, Bilbao had a point to prove and prove it, they did. Hitting Sevilla on the counter, the pace from their forward was the difference as he, with the weight of two years since his last home league goal for Athletic Bilbao, opened the scoring with a powerful drive before adding a second goal that would go viral.
His side had to be dogged for the majority of the match, knowing that counter-attacks were valuable opportunities. In the 84th minute with tension building, all nerves were released in one piece of genius from Iñaki Williams. Receiving the ball with his back to goal inside his own half, he flicks the ball beyond the entire Sevilla defence and chases it in a straight foot race. No contest.
Showing composure at speed as he bore down on goal, Tomáš Vaclík was rounded like his defence before he, as Williams wrapped up a headline-making victory. Our Player of the Weekend.