Elche vs Villarreal predictions and match preview for Saturday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for analysis, team news and predicted lineups as two sides from the Valencian region meet.
|Saturday 4th February 2023
|Manuel Martinez Valero
Elche vs Villarreal Preview
Villarreal visit Elche this weekend to take on LaLiga’s bottom club. It’ll be a decent test for Quique Setien and his side who have struggled to break down some of the more limited teams in his reign so far but they really have to target three points here.
Elche are having a miserable season and the last thing they needed was an early red card on their trip to Sevilla last weekend. Pedro Bigas had other ideas as the centre-back saw red in the 41st minute which helped spur Sevilla on to score twice more before the break in a 3-0 win.
There can be little doubt that Elche are going down and their confidence levels are so low, that there is a danger of things utterly collapsing for them in the second half of the season. Pablo Machin will be determined to make sure that doesn’t happen and he can take confidence from a much improved performance in the 1-1 draw with Osasuna in their last home game. He’s likely to set his team’s stall out with a back three again and while they will have little possession in this game, they’ll look to Pere Milla or perhaps their young wing-backs to try to provide some kind of attacking spark.
The onus will be on Villarreal to press for the win but they come into this one on the back of a Monday night setback against Rayo. A 1-0 defeat, their first at the Ceramica in LaLiga this season (they played home games in Valencia before the World Cup), leaves them on 31 points at the midway point of what has been a fairly turbulent season given the departure of Unai Emery.
Defensively they’ve been strong with just 14 conceded in LaLiga but things haven’t always clicked going forwards. They’ve looked more dangerous since the return to fitness of Gerard Moreno but questions do still remain over Setien’s style of play and whether it can really deliver results against all kinds of different teams.
Team News & Possible Lineups
Possible XI: Badia – Diego, Roco, Palacios – Blanco, Gumbau, Mascarell, Carmona – Fidel, Milla – Boye (3-4-1-2)
Coach: Pablo Machin
|Lo Celso, Pedraza, Reina
Possible XI: Reina – Moreno, Torres, Albiol, Foyth – Parejo, Capoue, Baena – Yeremy, Gerard Moreno, Chukwueze (4-3-3)
Coach: Quique Setien
Score Prediction: Elche 1-1 Villarreal
Villarreal are a bit up and down still with some better performances but also some really poor ones since Setien took over. If Elche can avoid silly mistakes at the back (which is far from a certainty) then they may have enough to frustrate their fellow Valencian side and get a result.
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