Elche vs Barcelona predictions and match preview for Saturday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for analysis, team news and predicted lineups ahead of this bottom vs top clash.
|Date||Saturday 1st April 2023|
|Stadium||Manuel Martinez Valero|
Elche vs Barcelona Preview
Barcelona make the trip to Elche this weekend, hoping to extend their advantage at the top of LaLiga to a surely unassailable 15 points. In truth, their Clasico win a fortnight ago felt like the decisive blow in this season’s title race, but they still have work to do to ensure the trophy does end up at Camp Nou.
A game against LaLiga’s bottom club shouldn’t provide a great test for Barcelona, but they might have thought the same at Almeria (currently 19th) a few weeks back, a fixture that ended in defeat. You could double Elche’s points tally and they’d still be bottom of this league but some of their recent results have been better with Villarreal and Mallorca defeated in the past two months.
Despite picking up the club’s only two league wins of the 2022/23 season, Pablo Machin was the third Elche boss to be dismissed since the start of this disastrous campaign during the international break. The new man is Sebastián Beccacece, a 42 year old Argentine who is taking his first job in Europe. There is no expectation on him to keep Elche in the league but with a contract until June 2024, he is seemingly the man the Elche board believe can lead them back to the top flight next term.
It’s quite a baptism of fire for Beccacece against a Barcelona side that has only conceded 9 league goals all season and only dropped points on 4 occasions. Franck Kessie’s late strike a fortnight ago sealed Claisco glory for the Catalans and it’s surely now only a question of when Barcelona are crowned champions of Spain for the first time in four years.
That’s not to say they will have it all their own way here. With the 2nd Leg of their Copa del Rey Semi-Final against Real Madrid this coming Wednesday, it’s expected that Barcelona will rest a few players here, particularly those who had busy international breaks. There will be some enforced changes in any case with Raphinha suspended while a number of first regulars are carrying injuries with Pedri and Ousmane Dembele yet to recover from their issues.
Team News & Possible Lineups
|INJURED||Magallan, Roco, Nteka|
Possible XI: Badia – Bigas, Verdu, Palacios – Clerc, Gumbau, Mascarell, Carmona – Fidel, Ponce, Milla (3-4-3)
Coach: Sebastián Beccacece
|INJURED||Dembele, Pedri, Christensen|
|DOUBTFUL||Araujo, De Jong|
Possible XI: Ter Stegen – Balde, Alonso, Eric Garcia, Kounde – Gavi, Busquets, Roberto – Fati, Lewandowski, Ferran (4-3-3)
Score Prediction: Elche 0-1 Barcelona
Barcelona ran into trouble with a similar kind of lineup to the one that may take the field here in Almeria a few weeks back. With a new coach and relegation all but guaranteed, it’s something of a free hit for Elche and that could make them dangerous opponents but overall, you’d still fancy the visitors to get the job done, although it may be another game where they have to scrape by with a number of their best creative and attacking players sidelined.
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