MX23RW : Thursday, June 24 03:09:03| >> :120:59786:59786:
Dec 6, 2020 at 5.30pm UK at Estadio El Madrigal

Parejo (64'), Albiol (75'), Coquelin (81')

Milla (23'), Fidel (67'), Almiron (73')

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

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

Villarreal will be looking to return to winning ways in Spain's top flight when they continue their 2020-21 campaign at home to Elche on Sunday night.

The Yellow Submarine have drawn their last two in La Liga but remain third in the table, while Elche occupy 10th position, having also impressed during the 2020-21 campaign.

Match preview

Villarreal's Gerard Moreno celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates against Real Madrid on November 21, 2020© Reuters

Villarreal continued their excellent Europa League form with a 1-0 win away to Sivasspor on Thursday night, meaning that Unai Emery's side will be present in the knockout round of the European competition, having picked up an impressive 13 points from their five Group I fixtures.

The Yellow Submarine are currently on a 13-game unbeaten run in all competitions, while they sit third in Spain's top flight, winning five, drawing five and losing just one of their 11 matches to collect 20 points.

Emery's team started the month of November with back-to-back La Liga victories over Real Valladolid and Getafe before picking up welcome points at home to Real Madrid and away to leaders Real Sociedad.

Villarreal will now be looking to return to winning ways in the league, and it does appear that it could be a very successful campaign for the club, who last finished fourth in Spain's top flight in 2015-16.

El Submarino Amarillo have winnable fixtures against Elche, Real Betis and Osasuna in their next three before ending December with potentially tricky games against Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla.

Elche manager Jorge Almiron pictured while in charge of San Lorenzo in May 2019© Reuters

Elche, meanwhile, will also be pleased with their start to the season, having picked up 13 points from their nine matches to occupy 10th position, just four points off fourth-placed Real Madrid with a game in hand.

Los Franjiverdes, who advanced through the Segunda Division playoffs last term to secure a return to this level, have only lost twice in Spain's top flight this season, which is a superior record to both Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Jorge Almiron's side have actually played out 1-1 draws in each of their last three league matches with Celta Vigo, Levante and Cadiz, while they started the month with a loss at Betis.

As a result, the promoted side have not been victorious since overcoming Valencia on October 23, but there is no question that they are capable of making Sunday's clash a very difficult contest for their high-flying opponents.

Villarreal La Liga form: WDWWDD
Villarreal form (all competitions): WWDDDW

Elche La Liga form: WWLDDD

Team News

Villarreal's Samuel Chukwueze pictured in November 2020© Reuters

Villarreal will be without the services of Alberto Moreno, Carlos Bacca and Moi Gomez through injury this weekend, while Paco Alcacer is a huge doubt with a hamstring problem.

Head coach Emery will make changes from the side that started Thursday's Europa League clash, with Dani Parejo, Manu Trigueros, Gerard Moreno, Pau Torres and Mario Gaspar all in line to return.

Alcacer's expected absence means that Samuel Chukwueze and Alfonso Pedraza should start in the wide areas, with Gerard Moreno operating through the middle as the central striker.

As for Elche, Emiliano Rigoni remains an injury doubt, while Lucas Boye is suspended due to the red card that he picked up in the 1-1 draw with Cadiz last weekend.

Almiron is expected to make alterations on Sunday, with Raul Guti and Fidel in line to feature, while Boye's absence could see Pere Milla start through the middle.

Guido Carrillo was handed a starting role against Cadiz, but the Argentine could drop out of the XI for this game, with Josan Fernandez potentially coming into the side.

Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Asenjo; Gaspar, Albiol, Torres, Estupinan; Trigueros, Iborra, Parejo; Pedraza, Moreno, Chukwueze

Elche possible starting lineup:
Badia; Barragan, Gonzalez, Verdu, Josema; Marcone, Guti; Josan, Morente, Fidel; Milla

SM words green background

We say: Villarreal 1-0 Elche

This is a huge test for Villarreal as Elche's results and performances this season deserve a lot of respect. It would not be a surprise to see the two teams share the spoils, but Villarreal will be determined to return to winning ways in the league, and we fancy the hosts to edge a tight game on Sunday.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at 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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