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Sep 22, 2021 at 9pm UK
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Preview: Villarreal vs. Elche - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Villarreal will continue to search for their first victory of the season in La Liga on Wednesday when they welcome Elche to the Estadio de la Ceramica.

The visitors have only managed to secure one win in the league themselves, but they do head into the fixture on the back of a three-game unbeaten streak.

Match preview

It has been a difficult start to the season for Villarreal, who are without a victory in their opening four matches, although it is not all negative, as they are also unbeaten in that period.

Unai Emery's team have drawn every game they have played in the league so far, with goalscoring proving to be a problem as they have only found the back of the net twice to this point.

The lack of victories has left them six points behind the Champions League spots and immediately means that they are playing catch-up, although Villarreal do have a game in hand on the majority of the teams above them, including their opponents on Wednesday.

A win against Elche would see the Yellow Submarine overtake them in the table, but they have not won a single game since they defeated Manchester United in the Europa League final.

Villarreal did not manage a victory during preseason, and even their first Champions League group game saw them battle out a draw against Atalanta, with an 83rd-minute strike from Robin Gosens resulting in them sharing the points.

Emery's men were able to dominate the game against Mallorca on Saturday, having 66% of the possession, but they could not convert any of their 11 shots into goals.

Elche have also struggled for wins this season, having only gained one victory so far, which came during a 1-0 performance against Getafe recently.

They then followed that up with a 1-1 draw with Levante at the weekend, despite taking the lead in the 33rd minute thanks to a goal from Lucas Perez.

Unlike their opponents on Wednesday, Elche are not unbeaten this season, having suffered one defeat in their opening five games, at the hands of Atletico Madrid.

Much like Villarreal, Los Franjiverdes have struggled for goals, scoring just three so far, with Perez getting two of those, but they have conceded the same amount, proving that they are defensively strong.

After finishing two points above the relegation zone last season, Elche will be pleased with how they have started the new campaign, and considering they drew both of their matches against the Yellow Submarine in 2020-21, Fran Escriba will be confident his men can pick up a result on Wednesday.

Villarreal La Liga form:
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • D

Villarreal form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • D

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

Elche form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D

Team News

Villarreal were without both Samuel Chukwueze and Dani Raba during their goalless draw against Mallorca, but they are each set to return soon, meaning they could be boosted by their appearances in midweek.

Pau Torres recently came back to the team after a break, while Emery opted to use Alberto Moreno from the bench at the weekend, and his attacking qualities might be an option from the first whistle this time around.

Gerard Moreno was unavailable to the Yellow Submarine at the weekend due to a muscular overload in his hamstring, and that could keep the forward out of this midweek fixture.

Elche were without both Lucas Boye and Jony Alamo at the weekend, while Pedro Bigas remains unavailable due to a long-term problem that will see him miss a chunk of the season.

However, Perez will be hoping to continue his fine form in front of goal, as he aims to add to his tally and start providing his team with some real firepower.

A debut was also handed to Javier Pastore, who made his first appearance for the club from the bench, which could lead to him being in contention to start on Wednesday.

Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Rulli; Estupinan, Torres, Albiol, Foyth; Capoue, Coquelin, Trigueros; Groeneveld, Gomez, Dia

Elche possible starting lineup:
Casilla; Palacios, Roco, Gonzalo, Gonzalez, Mojica; Guti, Pastore, Morente; Perez, Benedetto

We say: Villarreal 0-0 Elche

This fixture sees two of the lowest scoring teams in the league come together, and with neither in brilliant form, a goalless draw could easily be the outcome.

Villarreal are missing their biggest attacking threat in Gerard Moreno, and that is a huge blow for them, while the visitors will be pleased to take a point away from the Yellow Submarine.

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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