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Following the draw with Cádiz at the weekend, the Camp Nou hosts another league game on Wednesday (7.00pm CET). This time the opponents are Elche, just a month after the sides met in the reverse fixture, but here’s a quick reminder of the essentials on the green-and-whites.
Where are they from?
Elche is a town of around a quarter of a million people in the south of the Valencian Community, although effectively it’s adjoined to the coastal city of Alicante, forming a conurbation of around 800,000 people. It’s particularly known for its association to the footwear industry and for its impressive palm groves.
Elche Club de Futbol was founded in 1923 when a number of smaller clubs merged to found one big one to represent the town. The club’s heydays were in the 1960s and 1970s, when they were regulars in La Liga, finishing as high as fifth and reaching the cup final in 1969.
They have never managed to repeat that success, only very occasionally appearing in La Liga since and never managing to stay there long. The club has also been troubled by a series of financial crises, including one that saw them relegated from La Liga in 2015 despite being 13th in the table, their best finish for almost 40 years.
Last season they beat Girona in the promotion playoff to finally return to the highest level.
Elche got off to an impressive start, winning four of their first six games, but followed that with a run of sixteen games without a single win (although they did manage draws in exactly half of those games). They finally ended the winless streak last weekend with a 1-0 defeat of Eibar, with whom they are now tied on 21 points but with two games in hand in what’s developing into an extremely tight battle to avoid relegation.
Head to head
We have to go all the way back to 1974 to find the last occasion Elche that managed to beat Barça. What’s more, in their last nine league games against Barça, dating back to 1984, Elche have not scored a single goal, and the Catalans also beat them 9-0 on aggregate in the Copa del Rey in 2015 and 1-0 in this season’s Gamper Trophy match.
The latest episode in Elche’s goal drought against Barça happened exactly one month ago on January 24, Frenkie de Jong and Riqui Puig scoring in a 2-0 win.
Last five meetings
24/01/21 (LIGA) Elche 0 FC Barcelona 2 (De Jong, Puig)
19/09/20 (GAMPER) FC Barcelona 1 (Griezmann) Elche 0
24/01/15 (LIGA) Elche 0 FC Barcelona 6 (Piqué, Messi 2, Neymar 2, Pedro)
15/01/15 (COPA) Elche 0 FC Barcelona 4 (Mathieu, S Roberto, Pedro, Adriano)
08/01/15 (COPA) FC Barcelona 5 Elche 0 (Neymar 2, Suárez, Messi, Alba)
Youssouf Koné (Mali, 17), Iván Marcone (Argentina, 1), Omenuke Mfulu (DR Congo, 1)
Víctor Rodríguez was at La Masia four years, playing in the same youth teams as Jordi Alba. Curiously, like the future first team full-back, he too was released for being too small. In 2019, he was MVP for his role in helping Seattle win the MLS Cup Final.
Top scorers 2020/21 (Liga)
Fidel (4), Lucas Boyé (4), Josan (4)
Fran Escribá replaced Argentinian Jorge Almirón as manager less than a fortnight ago, and at the first attempt guided the team to its first victory since October. He’s a familiar face at the club, at is was he who was in charge of the side when it won promotion to La Liga for the first time in 24 years in 2013. He left for Getafe when the club was relegated for administrative reasons in 2015, and also had spells at Villarreal and Celta before his recent return to Elche.
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