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May 1, 2022 at 1pm UK at Martinez Valero
1 - 1
Milla (84')
Fidel (36'), Roco (41'), Mascarell (43'), Carrillo (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Budimir (67' pen.)
Budimir (44'), Cruz (64')

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

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

Elche will be bidding to make it three La Liga wins in a row when they welcome Osasuna to Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero on Saturday afternoon.

The home side are currently 14th in the table, eight points clear of the relegation zone, while Osasuna occupy ninth position, four points behind eight-placed Athletic Bilbao.

Match preview

Elche's back-to-back wins over Mallorca and Real Betis have moved them up into 14th position in the table, now eight points clear of the relegation zone, so they are in a brilliant position to stay in the league heading into the final straight.

Los Franjiverdes finished 17th in La Liga last term, while they have only ended a top-flight season in a position higher than 16th on one occasion since 1977, meaning that this could go down as a hugely successful campaign.

Francisco's side actually lost five of their six league matches between February 25 and April 10, which left them fearful of dropping into the relegation zone, but the two wins over Mallorca and Betis have been vital, and they kept clean sheets in both of those fixtures.

Elche will take on Cadiz, Atletico Madrid, Celta Vigo and Getafe in their final four league games of the season, and they are only actually four points behind 10th-placed Valencia, so it is certainly possible for them to finish in the top half with a strong end to the campaign.

Osasuna, meanwhile, will enter this weekend's match off the back of a 3-1 home defeat to Real Madrid, but Los Rojillos have won three of their last five in the league, including their last away match at Valencia.

Jagoba Arrasate's side have collected 44 points from their 33 league matches this season to sit ninth in the table, two points ahead of 10th-placed Valencia and four behind eighth-placed Athletic Bilbao.

Osasuna have finished 10th and 11th in their last two top-flight campaigns, and 10th represents their best season at this level since ending the 2011-12 season in seventh.

The Pamplona-based outfit actually have the sixth-best away record in La Liga this season, picking up 23 points from 16 matches, which is the same number of points that Elche have claimed on home soil.

Three of the last four league meetings between these two sides have finished all square, including a 1-1 draw in the reverse match earlier this term, while it was 2-2 in the corresponding game last season.

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

Osasuna La Liga form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L

Team News

Elche will be missing Johan Mojica, Gonzalo Verdu and Lucas Boye this weekend through injury, but Omar Mascarell is back after serving a suspension.

Mojica and Verdu both picked up problems in the impressive win at Real Betis last time out, so there will have to be two changes at the back, with Antonio Barragan and Lucas Olaza both in line to start.

The home side could otherwise be unchanged from the side that took to the field for the first whistle against Real Betis, though, with Kike Perez and Fidel supporting Ezequiel Ponce at centre-forward.

As for Osasuna, Juan Cruz and Jesus Areso will be unavailable for selection on Sunday due to muscular and wrist injuries respectively.

Lucas Torro is back from suspension, but head coach Arrasate could keep faith with the majority of the players that started the defeat to Real Madrid last weekend.

There might be a change out wide, with Manu Sanchez potentially coming in for Ruben Garcia, but Osasuna should again be in a 4-5-1 formation, with Ante Budimir featuring at the tip of the attack.

Elche possible starting lineup:
Badia; Palacios, Roco, Barragan, Gonzalez, Olaza; Perez, Guti, Gumbau, Fidel; Ponce

Osasuna possible starting lineup:
Herrera; Vidal, Aridane, D Garcia, Cote; Avila, Martinez, Moncayola, Brasanac, M Sanchez; Budimir

We say: Elche 1-1 Osasuna

Elche will be flying after back-to-back wins, but Osasuna are a team to be taken extremely seriously at this level, so we are finding it difficult to back them to lose here. Draws have been common between these two sides in recent meetings, and we are backing another stalemate on Sunday.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals 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.Over 1.5:data

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