Athletic Club vs Elche predictions and match preview for Sunday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for analysis, team news and predicted lineups as the bottom club head to Bilbao.
|Sunday 28th May 2023
Athletic Club vs Elche Preview
Bilbao should be buzzing for the visit of Elche this Sunday as Athletic Club aim to take a step towards securing a return to European football. It hasn’t been quite as good a season as Athletic fans were hoping for when Ernesto Valverde returned to initially spark a flurry of good performances and convincing wins but they are still fighting hard for 7th place and Conference League qualification.
Athletic missed an opportunity to put themselves firmly in pole position for that place as they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at Osasuna on Thursday. The Pamplona club leaped above them in the league standings as a result and they really have been a problem for Athletic this term having also got the better of them in the Copa del Rey Semi-Final.
In recent weeks, Athletic have struggled without injured centre-backs Yeray and Inigo Martinez and that coupled with the lack of a really convincing striker has left them with big problems in both penalty areas. It’s perhaps no surprise then that their results have been poor with just 1 win in 6 league games. They are now outside the European places by virtue of their inferior head-to-head record against Osasuna and given they travel to Real Madrid on the final weekend, this is simply a must win game for Athletic.
Elche are no longer the soft touch they have been for much of the season though. Sebastián Beccacece deserves credit for getting something out of these players when all hope looked lost and it feels like they are now starting to build a team that could fight for promotion next season. Defensively they’ve been much improved of late with only 5 goals conceded in their last 6 matches, although Edgar Badia has still been needed at times to produce some fine saves.
They are unbeaten in 3 overall coming into this but it is true that their mini revival has mostly centred around their home form with 7 points from fixtures against Rayo, Atleti and Sevilla at the Manuel Martinez Valero in recent weeks. They’ve only picked up 7 away points all season though so will clearly be underdogs heading into this match.
Team News & Possible Lineups
|Morcillo, Dani Garcia, Herrera
|Yeray, Inigo Martinez
Possible XI: Simon – Yuri, Paredes, Vivian, De Marcos – Sancet, Vesga, Muniain – Berenguer, I. Williams, N. Williams (4-3-3)
Coach: Ernesto Valverde
Possible XI: Badia – Blanco, Clerc, Bigas, Josan – Gumbau, John – Tete, Milla, Fidel – Boye (4-2-3-1)
Coach: Sebastian Beccacece
Score Prediction: Athletic Club 2-1 Elche
Right now, it’s hard to be confident with Athletic and you increasingly can’t write off Elche as the lost cause they were only a matter of weeks ago. However with a big San Mames crowd behind them, this is still a game that the Basque side should have the better of and they ought to pick up the win that would edge them closer to the European places.
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