The visitors only lead the bottom three on goal difference, while their hosts remain at the foot of the division but within touching distance of their opponents thanks to a victory last time out.
Arouca head into the weekend with renewed confidence, having remained within touching distance of safety with an important result after enduring a dismal start to the Primeira Liga season.
The campaign did begin positively in the opening weeks with a victory and three draws, but the Arouquenses would then suffer seven defeats on the bounce heading into the November international break, despite only conceding 10 goals across those matches, as they scored just once at the other end.
That meant they were rooted to the foot of the table with just six points from 11 matches, and following the appointment of Daniel Sousa as manager during the international break after Daniel Ramos's exit, they returned to action in style away at ninth-placed Boavista last Sunday.
They began life under their new boss with a much-needed three-point haul from a 4-0 triumph, despite going a man down in the 49th minute with Bogdan Milovanov sent off, as a Cristo Gonzalez brace and a Rafa Mujica goal had them 3-0 up before the interval and Jason added a fourth 18 minutes from time.
Now bound to have some renewed confidence on the back of their second league victory of the season, taking them within a point of Vizela, Chaves, Estoril Praia and Sunday's opponents, Arouca will aim to make it-back-to-back triumphs on Sunday with a chance to leapfrog the visitors and move out of the drop zone.
Rio Ave, meanwhile, have a degree of positivity of their own in the fight at the bottom of the table, having doubled their points tally in the last three outings after also enduring a poor start to the campaign.
In their first nine outings, Luis Freire's side managed just five points, culminating in four straight defeats between late September and the end of October, but they were able to bounce back before the international break, firstly ending an eight-game winless run with a 2-0 triumph at home to Boavista thanks to goals from Fabio Ronaldo and Emmanuel Boateng.
The Rioavistas then headed into the break on the back of a 1-1 draw away at Gil Vicente, before returning to action at home to Estrela Amadora and again taking the share of the spoils, perhaps somewhat disappointingly, having gone ahead in the 81st minute through Aderllan Santos, only for a Josue Sa own goal to tie the visitors level four minutes from time.
Now keen to bounce back from that and continue building an unbeaten run, as they still only lead the bottom three on goal difference, Rio Ave will go in search of a third league win of the season on Sunday when they travel to Arouca.
While Daniel Sousa will have wished to deploy an unchanged Arouca starting XI from their 4-0 beating of Boavista in his first game at the helm last weekend, he will be unable to call on defender Bogdan Milovanov, who is suspended after his red card in the second half of that contest.
In his absence, Weverson, who missed out through injury last weekend, will likely return to the defence from the outset if deemed fit, while Nino Galovic, Francisco Montero and Tiago Esgaio are all bound to keep their places in the back four.
Sousa should avoid any alterations at the other end of the pitch, with Cristo Gonzalez and Rafa Mujica again bound to lead the line after the former netted a brace and the latter added a goal last weekend, while Jason will again aim to offer further support from the right wing in a 4-4-2 shape.
Rio Ave should head into the weekend with a clean bill of health, and Luis Freire may opt to deploy an unchanged starting XI with Josue Sa, Aderllan Santos and Miguel Nobrega forming a solid back three in front of stopper Jhonatan.
It is in attack where they have struggled, with right-wing-back Costinha leading the squad with four goals so far this term, and Leonardo Ruiz will fight to come back in from the start after Emmanuel Boateng and Andre Pereira were preferred last time out against Estrela Amadora.
Arouca possible starting lineup:
De Arruabarrena; Esgaio, Galovic, Montero, Weverson; Jason, Simao, Kouassi, Sylla; Mujica, Gonzalez
Rio Ave possible starting lineup:
Jhonatan; Sa, Santos, Nobrega; Costinha, Joca, Guga, Oudrhiri, Ronaldo; Boateng, Pereira
We say: Arouca 2-1 Rio Ave
Both teams will head into the weekend with a degree of confidence and the need for a result against a relegation rival, and we anticipate a tight contest.
The appointment of Daniel Sousa clearly had a positive effect on Arouca as they dished out a 4-0 beating in their first game under the new boss last weekend, and we fancy them to make it two in a row and come out on top on home turf.
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