MX23RW : Thursday, June 24 02:48:38| >> :120:14574:14574:
Mar 13, 2021 at 3.15pm UK at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Real MadridReal Madrid
2-1
ElcheElche
Benzema (73', 90+1')
Benzema (37')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Calvo (61')
Carrillo (69')

Preview: Real Madrid vs. Elche - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Elche, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

La Liga champions Real Madrid will look to steal a march on league leaders Atletico Madrid when they host Elche at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Saturday.

After an impressive win against Sevilla last time out, Elche find themselves outside of the relegation zone for the first time since December. Three points this weekend would contribute handsomely to their fight for survival.


Match preview

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema celebrates scoring against Atletico Madrid in La Liga on March 7, 2021© Reuters

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane will likely approach this tie with one eye on his side's midweek Champions League clash with Atalanta, an encounter that could very well define the team's season.

However, if history is anything to go by, Zidane's men will have no issue dispatching Elche on the weekend, as Los Blancos have not lost any of their last nine league games against Saturday's opponents. In fact, the last time they lost to Elche was in 1978.

Against Atletico last time out in the league, Real Madrid were very nearly beaten by their metropolitan rivals. Atletico led for long periods of the game but, in the end, Karim Benzema saved Zidane's blushes.

After the game, Zidane told the press: "I think they were better in the first half and we were better in the second half, so [the draw] is deserved."

While Los Blancos are competing for multiple honours this season, Zidane will know how important it is to the fans that they do not lose the title to their rivals. Three points this weekend will be crucial in preventing that.

Elche's Fidel celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates against Real Madrid on December 30, 2020© Reuters

There were scenes of jubilation when Elche beat Sevilla last Saturday, and rightfully so, Fran Escriba's men put one of La Liga's most in-form outfits to the sword and, in the end, dispatched them comfortably.

Thanks to second-half goals from Raul Guti and Guido Carrillo, Elche were able to pull off a feat many believed was well beyond their capabilities.

Currently 17th in the standings, Elche find themselves outside of the bottom three for the first time in several months, and both the manager and the players will be over the moon with their performances of late.

Last weekend's heroic exploits mean that Escriba's men have now picked up seven points from their last six games, which is not bad at all for a side that has struggled for long periods of the campaign.

Ultimately, Escriba is doing exactly what the club hierarchy asked of him when he replaced Jorge Almiron earlier this season. While three points this weekend may be a step too far for the La Liga minnows, a good go of it will no doubt be applauded by the Elche faithful.

Real Madrid La Liga form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D

Real Madrid form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D

Elche La Liga form:
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W


Team News

Real Madrid's Rodrygo Goes pictured in November 2020© Reuters

The good news for Zidane is that Real Madrid's injury crisis has abated in recent weeks and a number of first-team regulars are finding their way back into the side.

Frontman Mariano Diaz and defender Daniel Carvajal will both likely be unavailable for this tie due to injury.

Escriba is expected to name an unchanged team from the 11 that dispatched Sevilla last time out.

However, midfielder Emiliano Rigoni is currently out nursing a hamstring injury.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Vazquez, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Asensio

Elche possible starting lineup:
Badia; Barragan, Gonzalo, Calvo, Josema; Morente, Guti, Marcone, Fidel; Boye, Carrillo


SM words green background

We say: Real Madrid 0-1 Elche

OK, hear us out. Real Madrid have struggled at times this season against lesser opposition, having been undone by worse teams than Elche. Escriba's men are playing with their tails up at the moment and we think they might shock the champions this weekend.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CAtletico MadridAtletico38268467254286
2Real Madrid38259467283984
3Barcelona38247785384779
4Sevilla38245953332077
5Real Sociedad3817111059382162
6Real Betis381710115050061
7Villarreal3815131060441658
8Celta Vigo381411135557-253
9Granada38137184765-1846
10Athletic Bilbao381113144642446
11Osasuna381111163748-1144
12CadizCadiz381111163658-2244
13Valencia381013155053-343
14Levante38914154657-1141
15Getafe38911182843-1538
16AlavesAlaves38911183657-2138
17ElcheElche38812183455-2136
RHuesca38713183453-1934
RReal Valladolid38516173457-2331
REibarEibar38612202952-2330

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