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NEW LOOK ELCHE TAKE A BOW

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Elche appear to have chosen well in the summer transfer market. Time will tell but the initial signs look promising

In their first meaningful pre-season action ahead of the forthcoming campaign, Elche prevailed over divisional rivals Villarreal in a lengthy penalty shoot-out that lacked the tension and nail biting drama served up by, say, Holland and Argentina.

A goal apiece was the product of ninety minutes of actual football, but somebody had to be awarded the “Dama d’Elx” trophy for the fifty-fifth time and this time the home side did enough. Just.

Pre-season friendlies whichever way you spin them, or the opposition, are solely for the clubs themselves and a, generally, small number of die-hard fans. This evening was no different ! With new faces aplenty in all four corners of the pitch – and in goal – Elche manager Fran Escribá has a limited number of these fixtures in which to get it sorted. Early signs, though – without the intensity La Liga provokes – are, in the main, encouraging.

For Elche, the 2014/15 La Liga season can be paraphrased with the acronym SWAT – special weapons and tactics. Last time out, the weapons really weren’t that special; an Achilles heel of a strike force which plagued their La Liga return for months on end with a lack of goals.

Thankfully, elsewhere the Escribá tactics, particularly the way in which the back four performed, were mostly spot on. This season, their second back in the top flight, the former will need to do considerably better.

During the 2013/14 campaign players such as Boakye, Carles Gil, Christian Herrera Fidel and Manu del Moral all chipped in with goalscoring cameos. Now, with the exception of Herrera, they’ve all left or are going.

Much will depend on the scoring prowess of Brazilian newcomer Jonathas, (from Pescara), while midfield reinforcements with an eye for goal include Mario Pasalic, (Chelsea) and Fayçal Fajr (Rouen).

All three had a run out against Villarreal who opened the scoring in fortunate fashion when a Cherysev effort took a massive deflection which left Manu Herrera rooted to the spot. That was the highlight of a dire opening half watched by a reported 14,000 people, (it looked a lot less).

Having made expected changes during the break, Elche began brighter and were soon level, Pelegrin connected powerfully with a Damián cross to level things just four minutes after the restart. Garry Rodriguez caught the eye going forward and the introduction of centre-forward Jonathas soon had the Elche public applauding.

It’s early days, of course, but Elche have the look of a more inventive side than hitherto. Escribá, or his Sporting Director Victor Orta, (recently arrived from Zenit St. Petersburg), appear to have chosen well in the summer transfer market.

Time will tell but the initial signs look promising. Elche begin the new season with a trip to the Camp Nou which, early on, before they get into their stride, will probably be the best time to take on Barcelona.

When the fixture list was published, most eyes were on the opening sequence of matches. They would have been put to better use checking out the final six or seven fixtures which, this time, have given Elche an altogether easier looking run-in.

That presumes, though, that Elche will once again be fending off the unwelcome advances of the Segunda División in another relegation scrap. On the other hand, perhaps the new look Elche will surprise a few people. Hope so !

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44456/

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