Elche says “hello” to 2022 in full friday hello of the pandemic that, for the third consecutive year, affects the planet. Soccer, therefore, is not immune to it. Quite the opposite. The Christmas break has accentuated a trend that had already been on the rise since the end of November and no team is saved. Maybe that’s why nor has there been a stoppage in the competition, since they all seem affected. Some more, others less.
At case of the duel between Elche and Granada, In the absence of official confirmation, it seems that the virus has reduced both by the same amount. At least in terms of number. It is true that the illicit, who adhere to privacy policies so as not to make public the identity of their infected, seem accumulate almost all his absences in attack. Except for surprise, Francisco will not be able to count on Boyé, Lucas Pérez or Benedetto. Pere Milla has recovered at the last minute, so his situation remains to be seen. Guido Carrillo remains like the franjiverde vaccine to avoid the worst virus, footballingly speaking, that is known, the shortage of goals.
Given so much absence, the Argentine striker opens wide the doors of ownership. At the beginning of the season it seemed the last offensive option of the team, although its characteristics have made it have several opportunities in this first round of the League that Elche closes this afternoon. Of course, practically always coming off the bench. He only started at Villarreal, completing the 90 minutes. It has been close to the goal. The last time, for many, he marked it, at the Mestalla against Valencia. For the referees, on the pitch and from the VAR, no. In Copa del Rey he celebrated a double in the mud of Leioa.
For the first game of the year, Francisco hopes to improve the image, especially defensively, of the team in the initial section of his journey as a French-green coach. There will be neither Enzo Roco, sanctioned, nor Marcone, another of those infected. The good news is the return of Pedro Bigas, who will replace the Chilean in the axis of the rear. Gumbau points to midfielder next to Mascarell. In attack, the absence of the two Lucas would be replaced by the aforementioned Carrillo and, predictably, Pastore, who would have the opportunity to make good the saying of “new year, new life” and follow the process of forgetting these last dark times to he.
On the contrary, the company will not be easy. Granada finished in a very good line in 2021, after seeing how their coach, Robert Moreno, hung by a thread. Even Francisco sounded like his possible replacement, things in life. Three victories and two draws in the last five days allowed the Nasrids to spend some quiet parties, only pending the PCR tests and not the market of unemployed coaches.
The leader of this recovery has been a veteran like Jorge Molina, that arrives stoned. The Alcoyan forward, at the gates of 40 years, lives his umpteenth youth. Or perhaps, simply, what he has been doing his entire career (goals) is not a question of age. In the city of palm trees, despite the time that has elapsed, the memory of his time at the club in the 2009/2010 season, in which he was top scorer in the Second Division, still remains untouched. More than a decade later and after having served in Betis and Getafe, Molina has scored seven goals in this, his second season as a rojiblanco. The month of December closed it by scoring a goal against Cádiz to save a point in the final moments, signing a historic triplet against Mallorca and scoring a target to defeat Atlético de Madrid, current league champions.
Covid, Granada and Jorge Molina. Many concerns for Elche’s return to competition, to which add his everlasting runrún with the arbitration team. The performance of Cordero Vega, in a season in which the people of Elche have already been angry on more than one occasion with referees, assistants and VAR, will be looked at with a magnifying glass. The fans have organized a protest in the 12th minute to express this discomfort, accentuated lately by what happened at the Mestalla and the Camp Nou. A hobby that will not be affected by the restrictions in the stadiums indicated by the health authorities, but that wants to start 2022 with three points.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.