Relegation-threatened Elche are under pressure after taking just one point from last four league fixtures and they again face an uphill task as in-form Sevilla arrive at Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero. Los Rojiblancos returned to winning ways as they hammered Deportivo La Coruna at home and they will fancy their chances of defeating Elche as well.
One point from three home games
Despite losing on the final day of last season, Elche survived the league campaign by finishing one point above the relegation zone, and everything suggests los Ilicitanos are in for another very difficult campaign. While seeing a number of important players leave in the summer, the club seem to have failed to recruit proper replacements, and it is fair to say nobody was surprised by their poor start to the season. Oddly enough, Elche have done pretty well on the road, beating Rayo Vallecano and sharing spoils with Almeria while losing to El Clasico rivals, but their home performances leave a lot to be desired. Los Ilicitanos were beaten at home by both Eibar and Celta Vigo while playing out a 1-1 draw with Granada, and having largely disappointed when facing bottom-table sides, they have little to hope for ahead of the clash with very good Sevilla. And with several important players missing for the hosts, Elche could be in for yet another defeat in front of the home fans.
Aaron Niguez and Jonathas de Jesus miss out through injury and suspension respectively, whilst Garry Rodrigues could be rested having returned late from international duty.
Sevilla continue to impress
Sevilla produced quite a coup by lifting the Europa League trophy and finishing in La Liga top 5 amidst serious financial difficulty last term and no doubt last season was a huge boost for the club. Los Rojiblancos made few more shrewd signings this summer while keeping hold of most key players, and with new recruits hitting the ground running early on, Unai Emery’s side have continued the rich vein of form. While taking four points from first two EL group games, Sevilla impressed to take 16 points from seven league fixtures, climbing to third place in the process. And while many believed the 4-0 loss to reigning champions Atletico Madrid would be difficult to accept, the team produced a perfect response having hammered Deportivo La Coruna 4-1 last time out. Unai Emery did have several important players away on international duty, but with all but one of them resuming training on Thursday, Sevilla should feel no ill effects of the international break. And having already defeated Espanyol and Cordoba on the road, los Rojiblancos will be feeling confident ahead of the trip to Alicante.
Sebastian Cristoforo has resumed training after a seven-month injury lay-off, but he is not in contention, while Kevin Gameiro and Mariano Barbosa are out injured as well.
Elche have been thoroughly disappointing this term, especially in home games and with two key players missing, I don’t see how they are going to shock Sevilla. Los Rojiblancos are clearly brimming with confidence at the moment, which is enough to suggest a third away win in four games is on the cards.
Top pick: Away win 2.05 (21/20) @ Stan James
Alternative pick 1: Elche not to score 2.50 (3/2) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 2: Sevilla to win to nil 3.50 (5/2) @ SkyBet