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

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

Elche and Mallorca will do battle on Saturday in a true six-pointer at the bottom end of the La Liga table.

The visitors find themselves just one place and one point above the drop zone, while their hosts are three points better off in 15th spot.

Match preview

Following a strong run of form early in the new year, in which they collected 13 points from a span of six matches, Elche looked set to move clear of the fight at the bottom of La Liga, but they have since been dragged in as a result of their dip.

That spell was followed by a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of basement side Levante and a 2-1 defeat to Barcelona, before they were able to stop the rot by defeating Granada away from home.

The win has not triggered another turnaround for Francisco's men, though, as they have now lost three consecutive matches heading into the weekend, albeit with a tough schedule as they fell to Valencia, Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad.

In the most recent meeting, Guido Carillo gave Los Franjiverdes an early lead, but they were unable to keep Real Sociedad at bay as Alexander Sorloth and Robin Le Normand got on the scoresheet to snatch all three points.

As a result, Francisco's men now sit just four points clear of the drop zone, and they will be wary of a defeat to the 17th-placed side dragging them further into the mix.

Mallorca, meanwhile, arrive on a relative high, having finally put an end to a losing run last time out.

The visitors made a strong start to the La Liga campaign following their promotion but went on to be dragged into the relegation scrap as they endured a dismal run of form, losing seven straight league matches between late February and early April.

In that time, Els Pirates conceded 14 goals while only netting four at the other end, and a home meeting with Atletico Madrid did not seem to present a great opportunity to stop their slide.

In just his second game at the helm, Javier Aguirre's side upset the odds though, handing the defending champions a 1-0 defeat on home turf thanks to Vedat Muriqi's second-half goal and jumping out of the bottom three as a result.

While they remain only a single point above the drop zone, Mallorca have the chance to extend their lead at the weekend and move level on points with a struggling Elche side in their bid to avoid an immediate relegation back to the second tier.

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

Mallorca La Liga form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

Elche will likely remain without key forward Lucas Boye due to an injury, leaving Francisco to try and find replacements within his attacking ranks.

Guido Carillo was given the nod last time out, and, after hitting just his second goal of the season, he should keep his place.

Enzo Roco and Diego Gonzalez have been relative mainstays throughout the season, and they should again partner up at the heart of the back four.

Mallorca will welcome centre-back Franco Russo back to action after his suspension last time out, and he should come straight back into the defensive line.

Vedat Muriqi will continue to lead the line, having hit his third goal for the club following a loan move from Lazio in January in the victory over Atletico Madrid.

Takefusa Kubo and Fer Nino will be vying to come into the front line, although Aguirre is unlikely to make too many changes following their impressive victory.

Elche possible starting lineup:
Badia; Palacios, Roco, Gonzalez, Mojica; Morente, Mascarell, Gumbau, Fidel; Carillo, Milla

Mallorca possible starting lineup:
Rico; Maffeo, Russo, Raillo, Olivan, Costa; Baba, Sanchez, Rodriguez; Muriqi, Lee

We say: Elche 1-1 Mallorca

With so much on the line, we predict a tight and cagey affair as both sides are desperate to avoid what would be a harmful defeat.

We ultimately see a share of the spoils as the most likely outcome, with the visitors expected to at least earn a point after their confidence-boosting win last time out.

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