Despite the fact that Elche have not won any of their last 14 La Liga (LL) games (D7, L7), they could escape the bottom-three if they can get something from their two games in hand. Notably, the hosts have found the net and failed to win in nine of their last 14 LL games, putting their win-rate when opening the scoring at under 50% (W3, D3, L1).
The hosts have scored before HT in three of their last seven games here, though they won none (D4, L3). Consequently, Elche head into this as outsiders, and they have upset the odds to win in just one home league game of nine entered as underdogs (W1, D4, L4).
Villarreal protect a five-game unbeaten run in LL ahead of kick-off (W2, D3). Moreover, the starting favourite in any Villarreal league game this season has never lost (W10, D11), though the ‘Yellow Submarine’ ended the last round having been involved in almost a quarter (23.53%) of all 0-0 draws in LL this season.
Encouragingly for the visitors, they have recorded a better 21-game points return than in each of their last two campaigns, and quick starts on the road have helped them. Notably, ten of Villarreal’s 12 away league goals have come before HT, and the final result has mirrored that of HT in all but one of their LL road trips so far.
Players to watch: Elche man Josan’s first-half brace vs Valladolid remains the team’s only goals scored across the last four competitive games. As for the visitors, Paco Alcácer looks to score his first Villarreal goal since November as he returns to match fitness – he scored in his last away H2H with Elche, whilst at Valencia, back in 2014/15.
Hot stat: Villarreal manager Unai Emery is yet to be beaten in five career H2Hs with Elche (W3, D2) and has not seen his side on the day concede in three games.
Will not play
Barragan A.(Yellow Cards) Chukwueze S.(Groin Injury)
Barri G.(Knee Injury) Iborra(Knee Injury)
Fidel(Muscle Injury) Mario Gaspar(Muscle Injury)
Tete Morente(Yellow Cards) Moreno A.(Knee Injury)
Verdu G.(Yellow Cards) Pena R.(Thigh Injury)
Referee: Lopez M. (Esp),
Venue: Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero (Elche)