After a messy win against Celta Vigo, Atleti will return to the Wanda Metropolitano to try and secure three more points against Elche. The team from Elche was promoted three years ago, but they seem to be relegation candidates heading into the start of the season. Although Atleti is the definite favorite, Elche still has a chance to stun the Madrid giants. Here’s what to expect from Elche, how their last season went, and how Elche and Atleti compare.
In the 20/21 season, Elche CF finished 17th, ahead of relegated clubs Huesca, Valladolid, and Eibar. A measly 36 points let them stay in Spain’s premier division, but their horrific goal difference of -21 worried fans.
In the Copa del Rey, Elche was able to advance to the round of 32 with wins against Bunol(1-2) and La Nucia(0-1) before bouncing out at the hands of Rayo(2-0). One of the better parts of the season was when they stunned Sevilla in the middle of the season, but moments like that were few and far between.
Argentine striker Lucas Boye was the leading scorer for Elche, with 5 goals to his name.
En route to Atleti’s lifting of LaLiga’s trophy, Atletico Madrid dominated Elche. At home, they beat the Valencian club 3-1 with a brace from Luis Suarez and a penalty goal from Diego Costa. Lucas Boye scored Elche’s lone goal in the game.
Away from home, Atletico narrowly trumped Elche. Marcos Llorente knocked in the game’s only goal to win the game for Los Rojiblancos. Elche winger Fidel blew a penalty that would cost them a chance at earning a point.
LAST 5 GAMES
Last matchday, Elche tied with Athletic Bilbao in a scoreless affair. Elche’s only seen one win in their other recent four games: a friendly loss against Levante, two draws against Cartagena and Tenerife, and a lone win against Alaves make up their last 5 games.
ACQUISITIONS & DEPARTURES
Acquiring 31-year old Dario Benedetto from Marseille on loan has been the highlight of their summer window. The center-forward, valued at seven million euros, scored five times and assisted thrice in 32 appearances.
On top of that, they’ve added 25-year-old center forward Lucas Boye from Torino, 31-year-old defensive midfielder Ivan Marcone from Boca Juniors, and 28-year-old left-back Johan Mojica from Girona.
The only real blow to their squad might be center-back Dani Calvo leaving for Oviedo in his prime on a free transfer.
While they might not be in the news for their expensive purchases, they still have had a solid offseason.
In their home draw with Athletic Bilbao, Elche played in a 3-1-4-2. Although Kiko Casilla started against Bilbao, Edgar Badia could give him real competition in the goalkeeper department. Enzo Roco, Pedro Bigas, and Gonzalo Verdu started as the back three. New acquisition Ivan Marcone was the lone defensive midfielder. The midfield four was made up of Johan Mojica, Raul Guti, Fidel, and Josan. Oddly, Fidel, who usually plays as a left-winger, played in the heart of the midfield.
Expect Dario Benedetto to make an appearance in this game. Elche has a wealth of unproven players waiting to be proven, so they’ll have a real dilemma on their hands.
New signing Dario Benedetto was left on the reserves, with Lucas Boye and Pere Milla being the attacking duo.
BARCELONA? REAL? VILLAREAL? SEVILLA?
Here, I’ll provide the fixtures that involve a Spanish club that is currently playing in a European competition.
Real Madrid(2nd last season) away against Levante(14th last season)
Los Blancos will be expected to win against the Valencian club as they did away against Alaves. Levante's multifaceted attack will be spearheaded by Roger and Jose Luis Morales(13 and 11 goals last season, respectively). However, they’ll have a tough time breaking through against a talented Real Madrid team.
Real Madrid demolished Alaves 4-1, while Levante tied with Cadiz 1-all.
Barcelona(3rd last season) away against Athletic Bilbao(10th last season)
A talented but underperforming Athletic Bilbao will try to secure three points against Spanish superpowers Barcelona. Unai Simon, Inaki Williams, and Raul Garcia are fine and elite players, but Barcelona will be expected to triumph over Athletic Bilbao.
Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 4-2, while Athletic Bilbao drew with Elche 0-0.
Sevilla(4th last season) away against Getafe(15th last season)
Sevilla will try to get into midseason form before it’s too late with a win against lowly club Getafe. Getafe has a talented club, but they underperformed the last campaign. Players like Marc Cucurella will try to garner interest with a triumph over a Spanish giant. However, it’s unlikely that will happen: Jules Kounde leads a very good squad.
Sevilla beat a red-carded Rayo 3-0, while Getafe lost against Valencia 1-0 in a gruesome opening game.
Real Sociedad(5th last season) home against Rayo(6th last season in Segunda Divison, won promotion playoffs)
Rayo will need to redeem itself after a blowout against Sevilla with a win against Real Sociedad. Mikel Oyarzabal starred in both the Euros and Olympics, and he’ll try to continue his recent stream of success with a win after a loss against Barcelona. Rayo will need a good start to lessen the possibility of relegation, so a win would be wanted here.
Real Sociedad missed out three points against Barcelona(4-2), while red-carded Rayo was rolled over by Sevilla.
Real Betis(6th last season) home against Cadiz(12th last season)
Real Betis’ Nabil Fekir could be the source of Betis’ potential goal scoring against an overmatched Cadiz. Betis isn’t the best of clubs, but against a middling club, the Europa League participants should have any problem trumping Cadiz.
Betis ties with Mallorca 1-1, while Cadiz did the same against Levante.
Villareal(7th last season, won Europa League) away against Espanyol(1st in Segunda)
The Europa League winners will play against the Segunda Division winners in Matchday 2. The talented club wields talents like Pau Torres, Gerard Moreno, and Paco Alcacer. The continental competition winners shouldn’t have any problem with the new boys Espanyol, but we saw what happened with Arsenal and Brentford.
In complete contrast to Atleti, whose Joao Felix, Felipe, and Mario Hermoso are all either injured or suspended, all of Elche’s squad are ready for selection.
In no way, shape, or form should Elche be the favorites here. They’re tipped to see Segunda Division action this next season, and facing the LaLiga champions is no easy task. Dario Benedetto, if he plays, could have an impact, but it’s unlikely he will change the course of the game. Atleti has defending discipline and dangerous attackers.
Prediction: 3 Atleti - 0 Elche