Athletic Club vs Elche match preview and predictions for Saturday’s LaLiga match. Read on for the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as both sides target a positive start to 2021.
- DATE: Sunday 3rd January 2021
- KICK-OFF: 14:00 (local time)
- STADIUM: San Mames
- COMPETITION: LaLiga
Athletic Club vs Elche Preview
The pressure is back on Gaizka Garitano as Athletic Club play their first match of 2021 on the back of a disappointing Basque derby defeat. Nothing short of a positive response and three points will do here against an Elche side that has defied the odds to compete admirably on their return to the top flight after a long absence.
What will worry Athletic fans was not just that they lost the derby against Real Sociedad but the manner in which they were beaten. Having fallen behind in just the 5th minute at San Mames to Portu’s strike, Athletic seldom threatened to get back into the game and despite a host of changes after the break, they failed to muster up a single shot on target as La Real claimed as comfortable a 1-0 victory as you will see.
Whether another coach could get more out of this group of players is up for debate. Certainly a managerial switch is unlikely to be a quick fix with the absence of a convincing striker the glaringly obvious flaw in this team. Raul Garcia looks a year older now and is unlikely to replicate the heroics of last season in the position while at 26, it now seems clear that Inaki Williams is more suited to a wide role and is simply not the long-term solution as Athletic’s new number nine, which was the hope at one stage.
Elche have proven themselves to be awkward opponents for just about everyone they’ve met so far on this journey back in the top flight. While at times they’ve ridden their luck, they put in one of their most convincing performances yet in the 1-1 draw with Real Madrid last time out. With fresh recruits expected in January, they will now believe they have a real chance of beating the drop with 16 points on the board from their opening 14 games.
They are another team that is perhaps in need of a goalscorer but Lucas Boye has so far done a fine job of spearheading this team’s attack despite operating in what is often a lonely role. Defensive solidity is clearly the primary objective for coach Jorge Almiron, who wasn’t able to attend the Madrid game having tested positive for COVID-19.
Head to Head
- Last 5 Competitive Meetings: 1 Athletic Win, 1 Elche Win, 3 Draws.
- There hasn’t been a home win in the 5 meetings this century.
- The sides met in last season’s Copa del Rey with Athletic progressing on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
- The last league meetings came in the 2014/15 season and both produced away wins.
We may see some changes from Athletic who are still missing Yeray to injury.
Diego González and Mfulu continue to be injury concerns for the visitors.
Predicted Athletic Starting Lineup:
Simon – Yuri, Martinez, Nunez, Capa – Vesga, Vencedor – Muniain – Berenguer, Raul Garcia, Williams (4-2-1-3)
Predicted Elche Starting Lineup:
Badia – Sanchez Mino, Josema, Verdu, Barragan – Marcone – Fidel, Rodrigez, Raul Guti, Rigoni – Boye (4-1-4-1)
Athletic Club vs Elche Predictions
Score Prediction: Athletic Club 0-0 Elche
This doesn’t have the makings of a classic. Elche will put plenty of men behind the ball and they come into this game having drawn 6 of their last 8 league matches. Athletic’s lack of quality in the final third is obvious and it’s not the sort of game where the pace of Inaki Williams is likely to flourish. Stalemate could be the outcome and that would pile the pressure on Garitano.
Athletic Club vs Elche Betting Tips (18+)
Get our betting picks for this fixture, as well as all the others in the Spanish top flight by following LaLiga Expert for free on Tipstrr. You can view all our profit/loss stats and much more there.
Note that we don’t guarantee any long-term gains if you’re backing our La Liga tips and predictions. If you do choose to bet, only stake what you can afford to lose. See BeGambleAware for more on responsible gambling.