Elche welcome Atletico Madrid to the Estadio Martínez Valero for their next La Liga assignment on Wednesday night.

Elche and Atletico Madrid will face off in their respective 36th match of the 2021/22 La Liga season at the Estadio Martínez Valero this Wednedsay night. The Rojiblancos had won the reverse fixture at Wanda Metropolitano 1-0 in August earlier this campaign.

Elche are fresh off a 3-0 drubbing at Cadiz, where they conceded thrice in the last 10 minutes following Ezequiel Ponce’s sending off. Los Franjiverdes have lost six of their last ten matches but two wins and a draw in their last five outings have seen them climb to 14th in the league table.

With 39 points in 35 matches, they are at a position where three losses could see them get relegated while three wins could have them finish in the top half. They have seven points more than 18th-placed Mallorca and a win should be enough to secure their top-flight status for a third straight season. On the other hand, 0th-placed Valencia have just six more points than Elche.

Francisco’s side will try returning to winning ways after the disappointment against Cadiz but that won’t be easy against an Atletico side high on confidence. Diego Simeone’s men got the better of Real Madrid on Sunday, with Yannick Carrasco scoring the match’s only goal from the spot. Atletico have lost just once in their last five outings across competitions, winning twice, and have three defeats and five wins in their last ten.

They are currently fourth in the table with 64 points, a point off third-placed Sevilla and five points behind Barcelona in the second spot. Atletico are set to face Sevilla next Sunday in a virtual decider for the third spot in the league table. Simeone will want his side to take on Julen Lopetegui’s team on Sunday full of confidence and for that, they will need to get the better of Elche first.

Team News & Tactics

Elche

Francisco will be without centre-forward Ezequiel Ponce, who was sent off just three minutes after being brought on in the second half against Cadiz. His dismissal resulted in a complete capitulation with Elche conceding thrice in the last ten minutes to lose 3-0.

Elche will have the rest of the squad available which gives their manager plenty of options to choose from. He is expected to name the same attacking line as the Cadiz defeat in a 3-4-3 with Ponce suspended for the game.

There could be no changes elsewhere in the lineup with Edgar Badia keeping his spot between the sticks. Antonio Barragan, Omar Mascarell and Pedro Bigas will form the defence with Guti and Gerard Gumbau playing as the double pivot.

Josan Fernandez and Helibelton Palacios will be the two wing-backs with the latter once again expected to play on the unfamiliar left-wing. Kike Perez, Guido Carrillo and Pere Milla, who has been their top-scorer this season with eight goals, will retain their spots in the attacking trident for the home side.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Badia; Barragan, Mascarell, Bigas; Fernandez, Guti, Gumbau, Palacios; Perez, Carrillo, Milla

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Atletico Madrid

Diego Simeone is not as lucky as his counterpart Francisco with two of the Argentine’s first-team players out for the rest of the season. Both Joao Felix and Thomas Lemar have seen their respective seasons come to a premature end due to injuries.

The Argentine tactician is expected to continue with a 4-4-2 with two central midfielders shielding the defence as the two wide midfielders provide width. A few changes can be expected from the XI that started the 1-0 win in the Madrid derby on Sunday night.

While Jan Oblak will continue in goal, January signing Reinildo could make way for Renan Lodi at left-back. The other three defenders, Sime Vrsaljko, Stefan Savic and Jose Gimenez, who returned to the starting XI just a couple of league matches following a injury absence, are expected to retain their spots.

In the second line of press, Marcos Llorente and Yannick Carrasco could keep their spots as the two wide midfielders. Geoffrey Kondogbia, who has started the last two league matches, could make way for Rodrigo De Paul with captain Koke keeping his spot in the centre of the park.

Angel Correa and Matheus Cunha started as the front-two against Real Madrid, but Antoine Griezmann could get a look in against Elche in favour of the latter.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Oblak; Vrsaljko, Savic, Gimenez, Lodi; Llorente, Koke, De Paul, Carrasco; Correa, Griezmann

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Key Stats

  • Atletico Madrid and Elche have faced off just nine times across competitions, with the Rojiblancos winning eight.
  • Elche are yet to beat Atletico Madrid in the Spanish top flight.
  • Atletico Madrid have won their last three games at the Martinez Valero.
  • This will Simeone’s 400th La Liga game in charge as the Rojiblancos manager.
  • Atletico Madrid have won 24 points on the road this season, the same as what Elche have managed at home.

Player to Watch

Antoine Griezmann

Embed from Getty Images

Antoine Griezmann has had a disappointing season after returning to Atletico from Barcelona last summer on a two-year loan. He has scored just three goals in the league and eight across competitions. With the season now nearing its end, the Frenchman will want to get to double figures in terms of goals scored at the very least.

Prediction

Elche 0-1 Atletico Madrid

With a confidence-boosting win over Real Madrid, we expect Atletico to close out the Elche encounter comfortably and walk out with a 1-0 win. The Rojiblancos will want to end the season on a high and have historically been too hot to handle for Elche.

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