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Oct 18, 2020 at 5.30pm UK

Lejeune (30'), Ely (67')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Milla (39'), Morente (86')
Marcone (26'), Calvo (33'), Morente (47'), Josan (61'), Rigoni (78')

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

:Headline: Preview: Alaves vs. Elche - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's La Liga fixture between Alaves and Elche, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two of the sides sitting just above La Liga's relegation zone, Alaves and Elche, meet on Sunday afternoon.

Elche have played two games fewer than their opponents, due to their fixtures against Barcelona and Sevilla being postponed following those clubs' European involvements at the end of last season.

Match preview

Alaves went into the international break off the back of their first win of the season as they defeated Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao 1-0 thanks to Rodrigo Ely's second-half goal.

It was a much-needed result for Pablo Machin's side following three defeats and a draw from their opening four fixtures.

Furthermore, it was just the fifth clean sheet they had kept in their last 29 games – four of which have come at home.

With games against Barcelona, Valencia and Real Madrid to come in November, Alaves will know how crucial Sunday's game – as well as their following fixture against current bottom side Real Valladolid – really is.

Elche ended a five-year spell away from La Liga when they won promotion via the Segunda Division playoffs last season, and have won one, drawn one and lost one of their opening three fixtures.

Last time out they drew 0-0 with fellow newly-promoted side Huesca but were perhaps lucky to come away with a point and a clean sheet as their opponents missed several opportunities in front of goal.

Although the sample size is small, Elche average both the lowest shots taken per game (four) and the most shots conceded per game (19) in La Liga at this early stage of the campaign.

Coincidentally, Alaves average the second-fewest shots in the league at 7.4 per game, so Sunday's match is likely to be one of few chances.

That would continue a trend that has led to just two goals being scored in the last three games between the two sides – all in the second tier.

Despite Alaves and Elche competing in a combined 37 top-flight seasons before this one, this will be the first ever meeting between the sides at this level.

Alaves La Liga form: LLDLW

Elche La Liga form: LWD

Team News

Alaves defender Ruben Duarte was sent off last time out against Athletic Bilbao so is suspended for Sunday's game.

With Victor Laguardia struggling with an ankle problem and Florian Lejeune not 100% fit, Pablo Machin is short of options at the back so may give a first appearance of the season to Tachi.

New signings Jota and Tomas Tavares will be looking to make their debuts, although the latter has not trained much with his new teammates yet due to being away with Portugal's Under-21s during the international break.

Changes are expected for Elche, with Jorge Almiron saying he would use the two-week hiatus to switch up the system.

He could go with a 4-3-3 formation, giving summer signings Antonio Barragan, Juan Sanchez Mino and Ivan Marcone their first starts for the club.

Striker Lucas Boye has picked up an ankle knock, but he is still expected to start given he has scored Elche's only goal so far this season.

Alaves possible starting lineup:
Pacheco; Navarro, Tachi, Ely; Mendez, Pina, Pons, Battaglia, Rioja; Perez, Joselu

Elche possible starting lineup:
Badia; Barragan, Verdu, Calvo, Mino; Marcone, Guti, Fidel; Josan, Boye, Morente

We say: Alaves 1-0 Elche

A low-scoring affair is likely to lie in store, but both teams will sense an opportunity to grab three important points. Alaves, buoyed by victory over Athletic Bilbao, may just edge it through home advantage.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win 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.Home/Away:data

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1Real Sociedad6321102811
3Real Madrid531163310
7Real Betis630379-29
8Atletico MadridAtletico42208178
14Athletic Bilbao520345-16
17Celta Vigo612339-65
19Real Valladolid603359-43
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