Elche and Athletic Bilbao get their La Liga campaign underway when they trade tackles at the Estadio Martínez Valero on Monday.
The hosts were saved by the skin of their teeth last season as they finished two points above the relegation zone.
Meanwhile, the visitors secured a 10th-placed finish last season and will look to improve on that performance.
After closing the 2020-21 season with two straight victories, Elche picked up where they left off in their opening pre-season outing as they claimed an emphatic 6-1 victory over Atromitos Athens.
Francisco Escribá Segura’s men failed to keep pace in their subsequent five games as they picked up two draws and suffered two defeats, including a 2-1 loss to Levante last time out.
In that encounter, Gonzalo Melero and José Luis Morales scored on either side of Lucas Boyé’s equalizer to hand Levante the win and end their three-game losing streak.
Elche will now look to quickly bounce back from that defeat and claim their first opening-day victory since their return to La Liga.
Meanwhile, Athletic Bilbao head into Monday’s game off the back of a 1-1 friendly draw with Premier League heavyweight Liverpool.
Diogo Jota gave the Reds the lead in the 13th minute, but a 53rd-minute strike from Alex Berenguer helped Athletic Bilbao force a share of the spoils.
Marcelino’s side enjoyed a decent pre-season, picking up three wins and one draw from six outings.
However, Athletic Bilbao head into the game without a win in their last four La Liga games, picking up one draw and losing on three occasions.
Elche vs Athletic Bilbao Head-To-Head
The results have been evenly split in their previous seven encounters, with both picking up two wins apiece. The spoils have been shared on three different occasions.
Elche Form Guide (all competitions): L-D-W-D-L
Athletic Bilbao Form Guide (all competitions): W-W-L-W-D
Elche vs Athletic Bilbao Team News
The hosts will be without the services of Jony Alamo and Luismi, who have been ruled out through injuries.
Injured: Jony Alamo, Luismi
Yuri Berchiche, Ander Capa, Inigo Cordoba, Kenyan Kodro, Peru Nolaskoain and Aitor Paredes will all miss the game due to injuries. Raul Garcia will also play no part in the game as he is suspended.
Injured: Yuri Berchiche, Ander Capa, Inigo Cordoba, Kenyan Kodro, Peru Nolaskoain, Aitor Paredes
Suspended: Raul Garcia
Elche vs Athletic Bilbao Predicted XI
Elche Predicted XI (4-4-2): Edgar Badia; Enzo Roco, Gonzalo Verdu, Helibelton Palacios, Pedro Bigas; Jose Morente, Iván Marcone, Raúl Guti, Pere Milla; Manu Justo, Lucas Boyé
Athletic Bilbao Predicted XI (4-4-2): Julen Agirrezabala; Oscar De Marcos, Yeray Alvarez, Inigo Martinez, Mikel Balenziaga; Nico Williams, Oihan Sancet, Unai Vencedor, Jon Morcillo; Inaki Williams, Asier Villalibre
Elche vs Athletic Bilbao Prediction
We expect a thrilling contest at the Estadio Martínez Valero as Elche and Athletic Bilbao will be aiming to open their campaign on a good note.
However, we are tipping Athletic Bilbao to claim the win as they have found their rhythm following a fine pre-season.