MX23RW : Wednesday, December 1 06:26:40| >> :600:327106:327106:
Sep 26, 2020 at 5.30pm UK at Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero
ElcheElche
0-3
Real SociedadReal Sociedad

Mfulu (35'), Gonzalo (70'), Guti (87')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Portu (55'), Januzaj (77' pen.), Lopez (90+4')
Silva (43')

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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Elche and Real Sociedad, including team news and predicted lineups.

Real Sociedad will be looking for their first La Liga victory of the season when they travel to Elche on Saturday.

The Basque outfit have started their 2020-21 campaign with back-to-back draws against Real Valladolid and Real Madrid, but Elche are yet to take to the field in Spain's top flight this season.


Match preview

Barcelona's Miralem Pjanic in action with Elche's Cesar during a pre-season friendly on September 19, 2020© Reuters

Elche secured a return to Spain's top flight for the 2020-21 campaign by advancing through the Segunda Division playoffs last season, beating Girona 1-0 on aggregate towards the end of August.

Los Franjiverdes last competed at this level in 2014-15, when they actually finished 13th but were relegated to the second tier because of unpaid debts to the tax authorities.

Elche were then relegated to the third tier of Spanish football for the 2017-18 campaign but are now back at the top level and will be desperate to consolidate in Spain's top flight.

Jorge Almiron's side have been relatively busy during this summer's transfer window, with Raul Guti and Tete Morente among those to arrive, while Juan Cruz and Oscar Gil have been among the departures.

They are yet to start their league season but faced Barcelona in the Joan Gamper Trophy last weekend, suffering a 1-0 defeat to Ronald Koeman's team at Camp Nou.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema in action against Real Sociedad in La Liga on September 20, 2020© Reuters

Sociedad, meanwhile, started their 2020-21 La Liga campaign with a 1-1 draw away to Real Valladolid on September 13 before playing out a goalless draw with Real Madrid in the league last weekend.

The Basque outfit will be keen to put three points on the board as soon as possible and will view Saturday night's encounter as the perfect opportunity to move onto five points for the campaign.

Sociedad finished sixth in La Liga last season, which was enough for a spot in the group stage of the Europa League, but they were some way off the top four, ending the campaign 14 points behind Sevilla.

Imanol Alguacil's side have had a relatively quiet summer in terms of transfers, but they won the race to sign experienced midfielder David Silva from Manchester City, and the 34-year-old made his debut as a second-half substitute against Real Madrid last time out.

Elche form (all competitions): L

Real Sociedad La Liga form: DD


Team News

Real Sociedad's Mikel Oyarzabal celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on December 14, 2019© Reuters

Elche's side is expected to have a familiar look to the one that started against Barca last weekend, with Nino and summer arrival Morente likely to feature in the final third of the field.

Ramon Folch is likely to miss out through injury, but the home side are otherwise in good shape when it comes to injuries, handing Almiron plenty of options.

A 3-4-3 formation is also expected to feature Omenuke Mfulu in the middle of the park.

Sociedad, meanwhile, still have a number of injury concerns with Asier Illarramendi, Luca Sangalli, Martin Merquelanz, Joseba Zaldua and Igor Zubeldia all expected to miss out through injury.

Nacho Monreal was not involved against Real Madrid last weekend but should come into the starting XI for this game, while Alexander Isak could keep his spot at the tip of the attack over Willian Jose.

Mikel Merino and Ander Guevara should again keep their spots in the middle of the park with 18-year-old Ander Barrenetxea operating in a wide position.

Elche possible starting lineup:
Badia; Verdu, Calvo, Josema; Josan, Mfuiu, Guti, Fidel; Milla, Nino, Morente

Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Remiro; Gorosabel, Elustondo, Le Normand, Monreal; Guevara, Merino; Portu, Oyarzabal, Barrenetxea; Isak


SM words green background

We say: Elche 1-2 Real Sociedad

Sociedad will be desperate to record their first league victory of the season, and we fancy the Basque outfit to triumph here. It is difficult to know exactly what to expect from this Elche side, but they should prove tough opposition, having given Barca a tough examination in the Joan Gamper Trophy.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 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.Over 1.5:curl

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Real Sociedad striker Willian Jose pictured in November 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Madrid14103134151933
2Atletico MadridAtletico1485126141229
3Real Sociedad158521911829
4Sevilla1484224111328
5Real Betis158342518727
6Rayo Vallecano157352316724
7Barcelona146532316723
8Athletic Bilbao144821310320
9Espanyol155551514120
10Osasuna155551519-420
11Valencia154742221119
12Villarreal143741616016
13Celta Vigo154471619-316
14Mallorca153751422-816
15AlavesAlaves144281119-814
16Granada142661422-812
17ElcheElche152671221-912
18CadizCadiz152671327-1412
19Getafe152491019-910
20Levante150781328-157

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