Elche vs Athletic Club Match Preview & Predictions

Elche vs Athletic Club

Elche vs Athletic Club match preview and predictions for Monday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for the head-to-head, team news, predicted lineups and fantasy football picks as both sides kick off their 2021/22 campaigns.

DateMonday 16th August 2021
Kick-Off22:00 (local time)
StadiumManuel Martinez Valero

Elche vs Athletic Club Preview

Elche stadium

The final game on matchday one of LaLiga 2021/22 comes from the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero. Elche, who defied all the odds to survive last season, host Marcelino’s Athletic Club. The visitors will be hoping to push for European football this season having missed out in recent years.

Elche will once again be just about everyone’s favourites for relegation, perhaps along with Rayo Vallecano. They did ride their luck to some extent last term with their late season victories coming against sides with nothing to play and most data from the 2020/21 campaign suggests they were very fortunate to beat the drop. However that shouldn’t take anything away from the job Fran Escriba did in salvaging a team that looked to be firmly heading in the direction of relegation when he took over.

Perhaps Elche’s best summer business was convincing Escriba to stay on, although his strong bond with the club ensured it was never seriously in doubt. Elche have actually spent more money on transfer fees than most clubs in LaLiga this summer although that cash went towards players who were on loan at the club last term. Lucas Boyé and Ivan Marcone are now formally Elche players and they’ve added a few more experienced heads on frees including keeper Kiko Casilla and centre-back Pedro Bigas.

Not unlike Elche, the main concern for Athletic this season may be just where their goals will come from. Their tally of 46 last season was the lowest in the top half and they could do with somebody stepping up and contributing more if they are going to be serious European contenders, particularly with veteran Raul Garcia now 35 years old and more likely to be used off the bench.

Marcelino is expected to start off with Inaki Williams and Oihan Sancet in attack and it’ll be interesting to see how Athletic go following a full pre-season where Marcelino would have had more chance to implement his ideas. After the highs and lows in the cups last season, Athletic will be hungry to start well in LaLiga and lay some foundations for an improved league campaign. At the very least, they ought to much more motivated and competitive than they were when they visited this ground on the final day of last season.

Head to Head

  • Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 2 Elche Wins, 2 Athletic Wins, 2 Draws.
  • This is a repeat of a meeting on the final day of last season which Elche won 2-0 to secure safety.
  • Athletic avoided defeat on each of their 3 previous trips to Elche this century.
  • The league meetings in the 21st Century have produced 2 wins each and 2 draws.

Team News

Luismi is a doubt for Elche having recently tested positive for covid-19. Pablo Piatti is also an injury concern.

Peru Nolaskoain and Yuri Berchiche are missing through injury for the visitors. Ander Capa and Iñigo Córdoba are rated doubtful. Unai Simon may be missing following a busy international summer.

Predicted Elche Starting Lineup:

Badia – Josema, Bigas, Verdú, Palacios – Fidel, Marcone, Guti, Josan – Carrillo, Boye (4-4-2)

Predicted Athletic Starting Lineup:

Agirrezabala – Balenciaga, Martinez, Yeray, De Marcos – Muniain, D. Garcia, Zarraga, Berenguer – Williams, Sancet (4-4-2)

Elche vs Athletic Club Predictions

Score Prediction: Elche 0-1 Athletic Club

There’s pressure on Athletic to be more consistent this season and win more away games and in theory they have a good chance to lay down an early marker here. Neither side is that clinical in front of goal so it’s unlikely to be a high-scoring game but Athletic have that touch of extra quality which could be decisive.

Fantasy Football Picks

There are some doubts as to exactly who will start in some of the defensive positions for Athletic but Inigo Martinez looks nailed on to begin the season at centre-back and he stands a reasonable chance of walking away with a clean sheet here against a limited Elche attack.

LaLiga 2021/22 Season Preview | Fanteam Review

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About Mark Sochon 2075 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has been writing about Spanish football since 2014 and regularly attends and covers matches across Spain. His work has also been published by various newspapers and websites including These Football Times, World Soccer and Guardian Sport. Available for freelance work: marksochon (at) hotmail.co.uk

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