I have played Ageod games since BOA came out, and Athena has given me a number of very good games.
I play as if Athena was a human general, and do not try to do unhistorical actions to entrap her or get her to act crazy. That can be done fairly easily, if you do things no general would have ever done in real life. But if you do that, you will ruin your own game.
If I follow this rule of playing historically, Athena usually gives me a good game, and has won more than I care to admit.
And the AI for a specific game can be improved. An example would be Hannibal, Terror of Rome, where AI Hannibal was not at all terror inspiring when the game came Out. I politely complained about this on the forum, and the AJE team improved the AI to the point that Hannibal really did become a terror, and playing Rome against, Athena became a real challenge, especially in the post Cannae scenario.