Match Preview: Elche vs Real Madrid – 2021/22

By: Mohammed Sahel

The fixtures have been coming thick and fast at Real Madrid, and today Los Blancos play their third away game in 4 matches. Following the Clásico win, sentiments were high and Carlo Ancelotti seemed to reside in his confidence in his trusted selection. 

The team returned to the Bernabéu this week and were held by Osasuna to a stalemate, and the onus is once again on Madrid to win and reclaim top spot in Laliga Santander. Elche stand in the team’s way at the Estadio Martínez Valero, in a fixture from which the Whites claimed four points last season. 

What to Expect: 

Elche are robust, gritty, and like remaining in control of games. Like with any other team, playing Real Madrid usually means changing that. It’s unlikely that Fran Escribá will alter his preferred 3-5-2 too much. He’s known to stick to his guns, and pretty much changed the way at the club upon his appointment earlier this year. 

Elche have had little success playing this system this season. They remain exposed in the final third despite the three man back line. The likes of Pedro Bigas, Kiko Casilla and Lucas Pérez (recognisable much?) are all top players but clearly there seems to be a lack of identity in the way Elche go about their business. 

They were one of the more well drilled teams in the Segunda, they’ve played with personality and character at times but have failed to showcase the quality each of their individual assets truly possess. Real Madrid on the other hand cannot take this fixture too lightly, having lost two vital points against Osasuna at home. 

No room for complacency, this is a fixture that must be won. 

Team News: 

Karim Benzema’s absence comes as a result of fatigue and perhaps the knock he received versus Osasuna. By the looks of it, rotations seem imminent but Ancelotti will be aware of the margins between easing off and taking it too easy. It is a mistake that can’t be made, no matter what. 

Federico Valverde is the other absentee after he picked up an injury at the Nou Camp. Gareth Bale and Dani Ceballos remain injured indefinitely, for the moment at least. 

One can foresee a different starting eleven to those we’ve seen in recent weeks. The likes of Luka Jovic, Marcelo, Asensio, and even Eden Hazard could be given some valuable game time. 

Expected Line-ups: 

Real Madrid: 


Carvajal — Militão — Alaba — Marcelo

Modrić — Casemiro — Asensio

Rodrygo — Jović — Hazard 



Palacios — Roco — Bigas — Mojica

Morente — Mascarell — Guti — Fidel

Pérez — Boyé 

Player to Watch: 

Real Madrid: Luka Jović. The Serbian is likely to start for the first time this season. In Benzema’s absence, Jovic will be expected to lead play, maintain a presence and score goals, the latter of which he’s perfectly capable of doing. For him, It’s all about making the most of what he’s afforded at the moment. It isn’t easy being number two behind a player of Benzema’s stature. Hopefully he’s given some good service in and around the penalty box. 

Elche: Fidel. The 32-year-old midfielder is Fran Escribá’s captain. A vocal leader on the pitch, and a very able midfielder. He’s known to be versatile, aggressive and one to get forward a lot. Fidel may play as a wide midfielder as part of a four man midfield or in a narrow role if it is indeed Escribá’s preferred 3-5-2. The likes of Lucas Boyé and Pedro Bigas are also exceptional talents. 


Elche 0-1 Real Madrid. 

Real Madrid shouldn’t find too many problems in breaking Elche down although like Osasuna, they will tend to put 11 men in front of goal. It may get repetitive but Real Madrid will have to grind out a victory here.

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