MX23RW : Thursday, June 17 09:06:56| >> :600:174276:174276:
Feb 6, 2021 at 5.30pm UK at Martinez Valero
Carrillo (49'), Boye (64')
Boye (22')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Moreno (16', 35')
Pedraza (62'), Trigueros (70')

Preview: Elche vs. Villarreal - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Villarreal will be looking to bounce back from Wednesday's Copa del Rey disappointment when they continue their 2020-21 La Liga campaign away to a struggling Elche on Saturday evening.

The Yellow Submarine were knocked out of the cup at the quarter-final stage courtesy of a 1-0 loss to Levante, while Elche will also enter this match off the back of a 1-0 defeat to Valencia in the league.

Match preview

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

There is still plenty of football to be played between now and the end of the season, but Elche's form is concerning, with the team losing four of their last five matches in Spain's top flight.

Jorge Almiron's side, who were promoted to La Liga via the Segunda Division playoffs last season, have not actually been victorious in the league since a 2-1 success over Valencia on October 23.

Elche have shared the points on eight occasions in the league this season, but they have only picked up three victories, and a total of 17 points has left them in 19th position in the table.

Los Franjiverdes do have two games in hand over the teams around them, though, and sit just two points behind 17th-placed Osasuna, meaning that their situation is not disastrous despite a poor run of form.

Elche have also held Villarreal to draws in three of their last four matches at this level of football, including a 0-0 when the pair locked horns in the reverse fixture back in December.

Villarreal manager Unai Emery pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Villarreal, as mentioned, missed the chance to book their spot in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday evening as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Levante, with Roger Marti deciding the contest in the final stages of extra time at Estadio Ciudad de Valencia.

The Yellow Submarine have also drawn their last three league matches against Granada, Huesca and Real Sociedad to lose some ground on the top four entering a key period.

As it stands, Unai Emery's side are fifth in the table, four points behind fourth-placed Sevilla, who have a game in hand, and it is going to take some effort to knock one of the current top four out of the Champions League positions.

El Submarino Amarillo are the favourites to finish fifth once again, but the Europa League provides another opportunity to qualify for Europe's premier competition, and the La Liga outfit will take on Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg in a two-legged affair later this month.

Elche La Liga form: DLLDLL
Elche form (all competitions): WLLDLL

Villarreal La Liga form: LWWDDD
Villarreal form (all competitions): WDDWDL

Team News

Villarreal's Samuel Chukwueze pictured in November 2020© Reuters

Elche will be missing three key players through suspension this weekend, with Gonzalo Verdu, Tete Morente and Antonio Barragan all unavailable due to the bookings that they picked up against Valencia last time out.

Gerard Barri and Fidel are still on the sidelines through injury, meanwhile, meaning that the home side will be far from at full strength against the Yellow Submarine.

Dani Calvo and Josema Sanchez could earn staring roles at the back, while Morente's absence is likely to see Pere Milla feature in the final third of the field.

As for Villarreal, Samuel Chukwueze, Mario Gaspar and Vicente Iborra will be unavailable for selection, but Gerard Moreno and Ruben Pena are in contention to at least be on the bench.

Paco Alcacer could again lead the line with support from Manu Trigueros and Moi Gomez in the wide areas, although Carlos Bacca is also an option to feature at the tip of the attack.

The fact that Emery picked a strong side against Levante in the Copa del Rey and still lost will be a major disappointment, but the manager is expected to resist the temptation to shuffle his pack.

Elche possible starting lineup:
Badia; Calvo, Gonzalez, Josema; Josan, Guti, Marcone, Mojica; Rigoni, Boye, Milla

Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Asenjo; Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Parejo, Capoue, Coquelin; Trigueros, Alcacer, M Gomez

SM words green background

We say: Elche 0-1 Villarreal

Elche's form cannot be ignored, and it is difficult to see where the next win is coming from at the moment. Villarreal will be determined to bounce back from Wednesday's Copa del Rey disappointment and return to winning ways in the league, and we expect the visitors to pick up a narrow victory on Saturday.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at 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:data

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