With all due respect to Elche, there are some teams you just have to beat. I’ll be watching closely for the release of the squad for tomorrow’s match to see if Paco Alcacer is ready to make some kind of return from injury, otherwise it will probably be Gerard up top.
Elche has drastically overperformed expectations so far this season, sitting on 13 points, 10th place, with wins over Valencia, Alaves, and Eibar. They’ve also found ways to get a point from Huesca, Celta, Levante, and Cadiz. They have yet to put forward a true statement win in the league and we certainly don’t want to be that for them. This is their first season in the top flight since 2014-2015 and their goal is simply to stay up.
Four different players have scored two goals apiece for Elche this year, but for me they don’t have one particular danger man. There are plenty of weaknesses to take advantage of here if we are up to it.
Expect the usual suspects on the field, with Paco still unlikely to start and Sivasspor goal hero Samu likely to take his place. Moi Gomez also likely won’t play in this one. We should have over 60% possession in this one, and it will largely come down to whether we can defend in transition and finish our chances. Here’s how I see us lining up.
Will Samu track back enough to give Mario cover? That’s my biggest tactical question going into this one. It actually wouldn’t surprise me, given how Emery has used Samu, if at times Gerard dropped down and to the right and Samu made the runs typical of a starting 9.
We’re better than they are, and I don’t think they do the kinds of things that cause us problems. 2-0 Villarreal win.