Monday, November 29

Villarreal – Elche: Crossed paths

The franjiverdes Barragán and Luismi in a training session this week.

The franjiverdes Barragán and Luismi in a training session this week.

The La Cerámica de Villarreal stadium marks this afternoon (6.30pm) the start of the steep “December slope” that Elche has to face with five league games and one cup in just over three weeks. This is a serious test of effort for the franjiverdes, who do not renounce to surprise one of the most fit teams in the competition, Unai Emery’s «yellow submarine», third placed in the table after chaining 70 days and 13 games undefeated in the national tournament of regularity. Despite the difficulty of the stake, the team coach from Elche Jorge Almirón, who only has the suspension due to a penalty from forward Lucas Boyé, sees possible the mission of scratching some point in La Cerámica after four games and more than a month without winning (since on October 23 at Valencia, 2-1) and to see how the hitherto comfortable distance with the descent has been reduced to three points at the start of a very demanding month with other duels in view of the complexity of Granada, Atlético and Real Madrid.

For the visit to Villarreal -the best home team in LaLiga with four wins and two draws in six home games- Almirón plans to recover the defense of five players after the two previous games with a line of four and two draws to one goal against Cádiz and Levante. The recovery of Fidel, who reappeared the previous day against Cádiz after his muscular injury, pays for the bet for the three center-backs and two lanes with the intention that the franjiverdes wrap up more in the center of the field and the defense to contain the flow of the Parejo, Trigueros, Iborra, Gerard Moreno, Paco Alcácer and company.

Crossed trajectories in Villarreal

In fact, Almirón has acknowledged that during the week his team has worked especially on the facet of ball possession to try to counter Villarreal on the initiative and the leading role in their attack game. It is in the offensive facet in which Emery has the most problems after losing the Colombian Bacca through injury last day, who has joined midfielder Moi Gómez and side Alberto Moreno in the infirmary. The good news for Emery is the return after two weeks of injury to Valencian forward Paco Alcácer, the team’s second scorer with five goals, one less than Gerard Moreno.

Elche will try to take advantage of the predictable fatigue due to the accumulation of matches between the two competitions – Villarreal qualified on Thursday for the round of 32 of the Europa League – and due to the bumpy return trip on Friday from Turkey due to bad weather conditions. . The “groguet” team has only been able to carry out one training session, yesterday afternoon, to prepare for their confrontation with the franjiverdes on this twelfth day of LaLiga Santander, although Emery resorted to rotations in his Europa League match to dose the efforts, an option that Almirón also considers in the face of the busy schedule that awaits the French-Green in the next three weeks. “The best way to check how the players are doing is by playing matches,” the coach highlights.

Crossed trajectories in Villarreal

The Argentine coach of Elche recovers for this commitment Emiliano Rigoni, who has been dropped during the last month due to a shoulder injury, the Russian goalkeeper Rodríguez, absent last call due to knee discomfort, and the side Yousouff Koné, who fell from the above citation for illness. The three start as substitutes in the Elche team, which accumulates three consecutive draws to one (Cádiz, Levante and Celta) and a defeat (3-1 in the visit to Betis) in the last month of competition.

The team from Elche wants to end that negative streak this afternoon, although they have never won in the First Division at Villarreal, where they reaped a loss and a draw in their only two visits in the top flight between 2013 and 2015.

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