Elche are set to play host to Athletic Club at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero on Saturday for their latest La Liga game.
Elche come into this game on the back of a 3-1 win over Alvaro Cervera's Cadiz last Sunday at the Estadio Ramon de Carranza. Second-half goals from winger Pere Milla, centre-back Diego Gonzalez Polanco and attacker Fidel ensured the win for Fran Escriba's Elche. Experienced midfielder Jose Mari scored the consolation goal for Cadiz.
Athletic Club, on the other hand, lost 1-0 to Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid last Sunday at San Mames. A second-half goal from versatile Spanish defender Nacho sealed the deal for Real Madrid. Athletic Club had Spain international Raul Garcia sent off late in the second-half.
Elche vs Athletic Club Head-to-Head
In six head-to-head encounters between the two sides, Athletic Club hold the clear advantage. They have won three games, lost one and drawn two.
The two clubs last faced each other earlier this year in La Liga, with Athletic Club beating Elche 1-0. A first-half goal from captain and attacker Iker Muniain secured the win for Athletic Club.
Elche form guide in La Liga: W-L-L-L-W
Athletic Club form guide in La Liga: L-L-D-W-D
Elche vs Athletic Club Team News
Elche will be without Colombian left-back Johan Mojica, who is nursing an injury. Spanish centre-back Diego Gonzalez Polanco is suspended. Other than that there are no known issues and manager Fran Escriba is expected to have a fully fit squad at his disposal.
Injured: Johan Mojica
Suspended: Diego Gonzalez Polanco
Meanwhile, Athletic Club manager Marcelino will be unable to call upon the services of young midfielders Peru Nolaskoain and Oier Zarraga, former Paris Saint-Germain left-back Yuri Berchiche, Spain international Iker Muniain and right-back Ander Capa. There are doubts over the availability of right-back Inigo Lekue, while veteran attacker Raul Garcia is suspended.
Injured: Oier Zarraga, Yuri Berchiche, Iker Muniain, Ander Capa, Peru Nolaskoain
Doubtful: Inigo Lekue
Suspended: Raul Garcia
Elche vs Athletic Club Predicted XI
Elche Predicted XI (3-4-1-2): Paulo Gazzaniga, Antonio Barragan, Gonzalo Verdu, Dani Calvo, Helibelton Palacios, Raul Guti, Omenuke Mfulu, Fidel, Pablo Piatti, Pere Milla, Lucas Boye
Athletic Bilbao Predicted XI (4-4-2): Unai Simon, Oscar de Marcos, Yeray Alvarez, Inigo Martinez, Mikel Balenziaga, Alex Berenguer, Dani Garcia, Unai Vencedor, Jon Morcillo, Inaki Williams, Oihan Sancet
Elche vs Athletic Club Prediction
Elche are currently 18th in the La Liga table, on equal points with 17th-placed Huesca with a game to go. Fran Escriba's men will have to get a positive result against Athletic Club, in order to stand a chance of playing in the Spanish top-flight next season.
Athletic Club, on the other hand, are 9th in the league table. They appointed former Villarreal and Valencia boss Marcelino as manager in January, and the Spaniard has done a fairly good job of stabilising the ship. He has been linked with the Tottenham Hotspur job in recent weeks.
Elche will surely give their all, and might just surprise Athletic Club.
Prediction: Elche 1-0 Athletic Club
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