Soccer Spain LaLiga Prediction
Elche vs Valencia - Match Preview
⚽ 23 April 2023 - 12:00 GMT +0
It has long been a matter of time before Elche’s relegation from La Liga (LL) is confirmed, but the spectre of new infamy remains ever-present. They need seven more points to avoid being the first top-flight team this century to fall short of the 20-point watershed, but a current four-game losing streak in which they’ve scored just once has made that unwanted ‘accolade’ appear all the more possible.
Not even a battle-weary home crowd seems able to get through to the Franjiverdes either, with the hosts now winning just once in 14 home games this term. Late meltdowns have been a problem at Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero lately, with Elche conceding an average of two goals per game beyond the hour mark across their last three home losses.
Sitting in the relegation zone as well, Valencia could soon be joining Elche as top-flight exiles unless they arrest a dire run of form that has delivered them fewer LL points than any other club in the new calendar year (W2, D2, L11). They haven’t yet lived up to the tag of pre-match favourites in away league games so far this campaign (W0, D1, L3), but with Rubén Baraja’s men beaten just once in the previous eight H2Hs, they could well change that here.
While this is the type of game Valencia must win to further extend 36 unbroken years of the company amongst Spain’s elite, a run of eight straight LL away defeats still bodes poorly for the six-time champions. That includes six losses ‘to-nil’, while Los Che’s last equaliser after conceding first on hostile turf in league action dates back to early November.
📋 Players to watch: He’s been a very naughty Boyé lately… Lucas Boyé, that is! The Elche forward has received four yellow cards from five appearances, despite recently returning from suspension, and seeks his first goal since early March. Prominent amongst Valencia’s South American contingent for better reasons is Edinson Cavani who netted a brace in October’s reverse clash (D 2-2), whilst all three of his goalscoring league games since then have also seen both teams on the scoresheet.
⚡ Hot stat: Ahead of the round, Valencia’s tally of seven goals conceded between the 46th and 60th minutes in away matches is a league-high.
Barcelona vs Atl. Madrid - Match Preview
⚽ 23 April 2023 - 14:15 GMT +0
A full week on the training field may have arrived at the perfect time for Barcelona, as they look to bounce back from a three-game scoreless and winless run (D2, L1). This included a goalless La Liga (LL) draw at Getafe last Sunday that had coach Xavi bizarrely blame the kick-off time and the pitch for the result! Their 11-point lead at the top of the table ahead of this round remains comfortable although not impregnable if their scoring woes aren’t addressed.
A return to Spotify Camp Nou could be a blessing in this regard as Barça have scored in 12 of their last 13 league games here, averaging over two per game. They won’t be short of motivation either, as the hosts stand a chance to win both seasonal H2Hs for the first time since the 2015/16 campaign, having won the reverse fixture 1-0.
Atlético Madrid won’t be lying low though, having gone unbeaten in 13 league games (W10, D3) including six straight wins that consolidated their top-three spot. This has softened the blow of dropping out of Europe and getting knocked out of the Copa del Rey, although a win here could receive the biggest cheer from their arch-rivals Real Madrid.
The run has taken coach Diego Simeone’s contract discussions off the radar but the visitors still have a lot to aim for, sitting just two points shy of Real ahead of the weekend. However, this has been a fixture that hasn’t been kind to them in recent years, with Atlético failing to win an away LL H2H since February 2006 (D5, L11 since). Four wins across their last five league road trips (D1) suggest the visitors are well prepared this time and wouldn’t mind a repeat of the 1-0 scoreline seen in three of those victories.
📋 Players to watch: In the news for the wrong reasons recently, Raphinha would hope to redeem himself with a goal as his last six in the league has come in Barcelona wins. Former Barça boy Antoine Griezmann has seen his last nine league goalscoring appearances come in Atlético wins, but has never won or found the net in nine previous personal H2H league visits (D1, L8).
⚡ Hot stat: Four of Atlético’s last six away matches and the last two LL H2Hs have produced at least one red card.
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