• Deolu Akingbade

Analyzing Elche CF 2021/22

The Latest In Our Series Profiling La Liga

Resting at the seventeenth place, Elche CF is touted as a relegation candidate in the 2021/22 season. Elche has won only three games. Their 3-6-9 record is horrendous, but it is expected. Elche will need a way to reverse their fortunes and ignite their humdrum offense.

Although they recently advanced to the Copa del Rey round of 32, they did it off a late own-goal. That, added to the fact they struggled against a third-tier team, shows their current predicament. Can Elche turn around and stay out of the red? Read more to find out how, along with players, tactics, and recent games.

PLAYERS

Leeds loanee Kiko Casilla is Elche’s first-choice goalkeeper. Casilla is performing consistently in LaLiga, conceding just 15 in 12 games. Casilla saved 39 total shots this season, eighth-most in LaLiga. His understudy, Edgar Badia, conceded twelve goals in six games.

Left-back Johan Mojica is a core part of Los Ilicitanos’ defense, having scored once and assisting twice. Center-back Enzo Roco is also integral for Elche, scoring a goal for his team. Players like Helibelton Palacios and Diego Gonzalez also help anchor their defense.

Fidel, who scored two goals and assisted two more, is the core part of a mediocre midfield. Omar Mascarell and Ivan Marcone are defensive midfielders in Elche’s conservative lineups. Raul Guti and Josan are also included in manager Fran Escriba’s lineups.

Five-goal Lucas Boye leads a faltering front line that cannot seem to produce any goals. The 25-year-old Argentine shows his potential by scoring most of Elche’s goals. It is troubling that the responsibility of goalscoring lies on him. Although Lucas Perez and Dario Benedetto chip in with two goals each, Boye will need more help going into the final half of the season.

TACTICS

Elche plays in a compact 4-4-2 that denies gaps and holes in its defense. Although it allows for a compact backline and frustrates opponents, it is hard for Los Ilicitanos to score in their conservative defense.

Other times, Elche suits up in a 3-5-2. In their 3-5-2, Elche aims to restrict the flow of their opponent’s offense. They have not used the 3-5-2 in recent games, opting for their 4-4-2. I think the 4-4-2 works better for Elche. They have better xG than when they use their 3-5-2.

Elche conceded 28.3 xG, second-worst in LaLiga, while also logging a mediocre 17.4 xG. So their defense is not as heavily pressured, Escriba will need to tweak his tactics.

MATCHES

In Elche’s first Copa del Rey clash, Elche CF triumphed over fifth-tier side Leioa 2-1. Guido Carillo’s brace guided Los Ilicitanos to a second-round berth. Despite having just 36% of the possession, Elche’s two first-half goals helped them hang on for a win.

After the Copa del Rey win, Elche beat Cadiz 3-1 in LaLiga action. They were calculated with their possession and pressured the Cadiz defense until they scored. Elche took the lead early with Fidel Chavez’s early penalty. A pair of late goals from Tete Morente and Josan secured three points for Elche.

Elche could not continue its two-game win streak against Valencia. Valencia took the lead early in the first half off Goncalo Guedes’ goal. Although Lucas Boye restored parity with a 75th-minute goal, Cristiano Piccini scored an even-later goal to give the hosts the advantage. Jasper Cillessen put on an incredible performance to end the game 2-1. Elche could not spark their offense to generate a late score.

Elche squeaked by third-tier team Unionistas off a late own-goal. Los Ilicitanos were foiled by a sturdy defense, registering a paltry one shot on target. Elche could not score until a stoppage-time own goal. Unfortunately for Unionistas, a miscommunication doomed them to elimination. Elche will face Almeria in the round of 32.

Elche faced middling Barcelona after their close Copa del Rey clash. Elche fell behind early thanks to a pair of goals. Ferran Jutgla and Gavi were on the scoreboard first in the Camp Nou. The Catalans kept their two-goal lead until the middle of the second half. A quick pair of goals from Tete Morente and Pere Milla restored parity. To the relief of the Blaugrana, Nico scored in the 85th minute. Barca, who faced intense pressure., ended the match 3-2 in its favor.

WHERE ARE THE GOALS?

Like fellow relegation candidates Getafe, Elche desperately needs a transfer to keep their LaLiga hopes alive. They need a player that will give Elche a scoring boost. Namely, they need a forward to complement Argentine ace, Lucas Boye. Because Elche usually plays with two strikers, Elche could look to acquire a second striker. Inactivity during the transfer window will likely mean relegation to the Segunda Division.


Deolu Akingbade is profiling all 20 La Liga squads weekly exclusively for ThePyrrhic.com


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