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Oct 23, 2021 at 5.30pm UK
Boye (23'), Benedetto (84')
Gonzalo (34'), Palacios (86'), Bigas (90+4')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Morlanes (51'), de Tomas (52')
Lopez (74')

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

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

Espanyol will be looking to claim their third successive La Liga victory when they travel to Elche on Saturday evening.

The hosts are yet to lose on home soil so far this campaign, while the visitors have failed to win any of their opening four league matches on the road.

Match preview

Elche were unable to build on their 1-0 win against Celta Vigo before the international break, as they were beaten 2-1 away by high-flying Rayo Vallecano last weekend.

Lucas Boye had put the visitors in front with his first goal of the campaign in the 14th minute, however the hosts turned the game on its head with strikes either side of half time from Mario Hernandez and Randy Nteka.

A run of three defeats in four matches has seen Fran Escriba's men slip down to 14th in the La Liga standings, four points above the relegation zone.

One positive for Elche so far this season has been their home form, having claimed six points from their four matches played at the Manuel Martinez Valero.

Elche head into Saturday's clash after losing just one of their last six top-flight matches against Espanyol. Los Franjiverdes claimed a 2-1 victory in this fixture last season and will be confident of securing another three points this time around.

Espanyol followed up their impressive 2-1 triumph over Spanish giants Real Madrid with a 2-0 victory at home against Cadiz on Monday night.

Goals either side of half time from Raul de Tomas and Nico Melamed helped the Periquitos claim their third win of the campaign, which has seen them move up to 11th in the table and five points off the top four.

Last season's Segunda Division champions are yet to win away from home in the top-flight this term, however they head into Saturday's game having lost just once in their last six visits to teams from the Valencia region.

In addition, head coach Vicente Moreno has only lost one of his eight managerial games against Elche across all competitions, suffering a 1-0 defeat in September 2015 when in charge of Gimnastic de Tarragona.

Moreno will be hoping his side can now put together a more consistent run of form, having won, drawn and lost three games each in their opening nine fixtures, and a victory this weekend could see the Periquitos climb into the top six if other results were to go their way.

Elche La Liga form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Espanyol La Liga form:
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Elche's only injury concern for this weekend's game is with defender Diego Gonzalez, who is doubtful with a thigh strain.

Escriba may revert to a 3-5-2 formation, after using a flat 4-4-2 system last weekend, so there may be a few alterations made to his starting lineup as a result.

Wing-backs Josan and Johan Mojica could be recalled at the expense of Helibelton Palacios and Josema, while Pedro Bigas is set to partner Antonio Barragan and Enzo Roco in the back three.

After scoring last weekend, Boye is expected to keep his place in the first XI up front alongside Dario Benedetto, with former Arsenal forward Lucas Perez an option from the bench.

As for Espanyol, forward Javier Puado and midfielder Keidi Bare remain out with injuries, while Alexis Vidal and Miguelon will be assessed ahead of kickoff to see if they are fit to feature on Saturday.

De Tomas, who has scored four goals in his last six league matches, is set to lead the line ahead of Landry Dimata and Wu Lei, who are likely to begin on the bench once again.

Loren, Oscar Melendo and Adri Embarba could all keep their places in attacking midfield roles, with Sergi Darder and David Lopez set to pull the strings from deeper positions.

Elche possible starting lineup:
Casilla; Roco, Bigas, Barragan; Fernandez, Guti, Mascarell, Fidel, Mojica; Boye, Benedetto

Espanyol possible starting lineup:
Diego Lopez; Gil, Gomez, Cabrera, Pedrosa; Darder, David Lopez; Loren, Melendo, Embarba; De Tomas

We say: Elche 1-2 Espanyol

A closely-fought contest between two evenly-matched teams is set to be played out at the Manuel Martinez Valero, and both sides will be confident that they can come away with all three points.

Although there is little to separate the two teams, Espanyol head into this fixture with better form and we can see them edging out their opponents on Saturday.

Top 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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