Elche CF vs Athletic Bilbao Preview 16/08/2021

The 2021/22 La Liga opening weekend will conclude with Elche CF playing hosts to Athletic Bilbao as the two look to start their league campaigns off with a win to build on their dismal seasons last time out where Elche narrowly avoided relegation.

The Green-Striped Ones will welcome Bilbao to the Estadio Manuel Martínez Valero following a pretty torrid preseason, where, bar a 6-1 defeat over Atromitos, the club failed to really satisfy and promise fans of positive upcoming season, as they lost to Levante and drew with Tenerife and FC Cartagena ahead of the La Liga opener.

✔️𝗶𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗲𝘀 de trabajo 💪 pic.twitter.com/h0EoImdDHL

— Elche Club de Fútbol 🌴 (@elchecf) August 13, 2021

Last campaign, however, Elche avoided the drop by just two points and conceded the third-highest goals in the league with 55 let in from 38 games.

At the same time, the club also scored just 34 from the same amount of fixtures, meaning only relegated Eiber and 15th-placed Getafe scored less.

Fran Escribá’s side have tried to make positive movements in the transfer market, however, and they seem to have done a good job at steadying the ship with some astute additions to the squad.

The experienced head of Ivan Marcone joins from Boca Juniors, whilst Lucas Boye joins full-time, just as Pedro Bigas, Enzro Roco and Johan Mojica also come in to help Elche move further up the table.

Another notable addition is the move of Leeds United’s keeper, Kiko Casilla, who could be the club’s new number one this campaign in what looks to be make or break for Escribá, who had a tough time at Celta Vigo, Villarreal and Getafe before rejoining Elche this year.

These two clubs actually met on the final day of last season, which was the game where Elche managed to secure survival in the top flight following a 2-0 win over the Basque Country club. Boye and Raul Guti scored that day.

Bilbao, on the other hand, will be looking to break into the top 10 for only the second time in the past five seasons this campaign and facing off against Elche may be the perfect place for them to start.

Indeed, they may have lost 2-0, but with ex-Valencia boss Marcelino taking the helm back in January, the experienced La Liga manager has now had a full seven months to work with the club and they could now start to move forward in due course.

As of now, however, Elche’s 2-0 win over them last time out seems too soon and they should get the win here.

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