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FM21 Athletic Bilbao 4-2-3-1 Vertical Tiki-Taka Tactic | Team Guide

FM21 Athletic Bilbao 4-2-3-1 Vertical Tiki-Taka Tactic | Team Guide
Football Manager 2021 Athletic Bilbao tactic and team guide. Club culture and board requirements, tactics, key players, youth prospects and potential transfers in FM21.


Here is a brief analysis of the Bilbao squad, their club structure, relationship any potential managers will have with the board, expectations and possible tactics any FM21 manager can use.

About the club


Athletic Club or Athletic Bilbao are a professional football club that ply their trade in La Liga. They are the 3rd most successful club in Spain having won the La Liga on 8 occasions and the Spanish cup on 23 occasions. 

They are one of the 3 clubs, behind the 2 giants Barca & Real Madrid to never have been relegated from the first division of Spanish Football since the inception of the league. They are one of the 4 clubs in Spain that are not sports corporations but are instead owned and operated by the club members themselves. 

Bilbao are well known for their Basque policy for only using and promoting Basque players in the squad. They have also provided more footballers to the Spanish National team than any other side. However, things are all not smooth sailing for the club as they have failed to win a title in over 25 years and are now an established upper mid-table club.

Board Requirements


Bilbao had a dismal 2019-2020 season finishing a very underwhelming 11th in the league and have no European football as a result. The board requirements once you take over will be,

FM21 Athletic Bilbao Board Requirements

    1. A top 6 finish securing automatic qualification to the Europa League
    2. Reach the final of the Spanish Cup

There will not be any specific football philosophies required from the manager other than the restriction of signing only players with a Basque heritage.

Athletic Bilbao are blessed with excellent training facilities and a very good youth setup. The club regularly provides International players to Spain.

RELATED: Football Manager 2021 Starting Transfer Budgets

Squad, Formation and Tactical Style


Bilbao are not a side that rely on possession, they tend to prefer hitting teams on the counter-attack and play quick tempo football. The best tactic for this team would be a vertical tiki-taka or a fluid counterattack.

A 4-2-3-1 is how Bilbao line-up in real life and is probably the best-suited formation to the available squad of players. This also helps them maintain the width and start quick counterattacks by spraying the ball to the wingers.

A rough example of what your line-up would look like in a 4-2-3-1 formation is as follows,

FM21 Athletic Bilbao Tactics



Unai Simon as a sweeper-keeper in a support duty. 

Yeray Alvarez & Inigo Martinez as the 2 central defenders. With Inigo Martinez being played as a Ball Playing Defender.

Ander Capa & Yuri Berchiche as the 2 fullbacks with Yuri having increased crossing instructions and playing with a more attacking mindset.

Dani Garcia & Unai Lopez as the 2 central midfielders, you can play them in various roles with a defensive mindset.

Alex Berenguer & Inaki Williams as the 2 wide forwards, with the latter operating as an inside forward.

Iker Munain as an attacking midfielder in a No:10 role.

Raul Garcia as the lone forward in a Pressing Forward role.

RELATED: Football Manager 2021 Tactics

Key Players


1. Iker Muniain


FM21 Iker Muniain

Iker Muniain is the captain and one of the most important players in the squad. His attacking contributions are important in securing good results.

2. Inaki Williams


FM21 Inaki Williams

Inaki Williams is a versatile attacker who can play in multiple positions. He also has high potential and is sought after by many clubs.

3. Inigo Martinez


FM21 Inigo Martinez

Inigo Martinez is an experienced CB who is a natural leader in defence. He is also an aerial threat from set-pieces.

RELATED: Football Manager 2021 Best Players Shortlist

Weaknesses


1. The defence is a concerning area for Bilbao. The quality of the backup Central defenders is definitely not up to standard and could see a lot of goals conceded if any injuries occur.

2. With heavy reliance on Basque Players there is a problem with variety and the talent available. This has shown in Bilbao not being able to win titles for over 25 seasons now.

3. You will be helpless if bigger clubs want to poach away your talent and could leave you with gaping holes in the squad.

Potential Transfers (in)


With Bilbao having a policy of signing only players of Basque origin, it is very hard to find quality players in the market and we have to look at the club’s youth system for upgrades. However, some potential transfers are,

· Javi Martinez
· Asier Illarramendi
· Mikel Oyarzabal

Potential Transfers (Out)


These players may be surplus to requirements at the club or may not be of the expected quality.

· Mikel Balenziaga
· Inigo Lekue

Youth Prospects


There are a few exciting young prospects in the ranks who have the potential to be some of the best players in the league. A few examples are;

1. Oihan Sancet


FM21 Oihan Sancet

The young central midfielder is already good enough to be a backup and will only improve in the future. He has the ability to be a top basque player in the future.

2. Juan Artola


FM21 Juan Artola

The Spaniard is who currently plays for Bilbao C is extremely versatile making it easy to fit him into any formation. He is good enough to be a backup and will improve further in the future.

3. Nico Serrano


FM21 Nico Serrano

The u19 winger has the stats to easily be a backup already and will be a mainstay in the squad in the future years.


RELATED: Best Football Manager 2021 Wonderkids

Summary


To summarize, Bilbao are a solid club for most FM21 managers. However, do they have the quality to compete with the Spanish giants and get a coveted Europa League spot? Can you stabilize Bilbao and take them to their former glory?

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FM BLOG: FM21 Athletic Bilbao 4-2-3-1 Vertical Tiki-Taka Tactic | Team Guide
FM21 Athletic Bilbao 4-2-3-1 Vertical Tiki-Taka Tactic | Team Guide
Football Manager 2021 Athletic Bilbao tactic and team guide. Club culture and board requirements, tactics, key players and youth prospects in FM21.
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