Barcelona welcome Real Betis to the Camp Nou this weekend for what appears to be a must win game for the Catalan giants if they’re to keep pace with the title race.
Ronald Koeman’s men have had a stop-start season so far with mixed results domestically. Last weekend, they could only come away with a point against Alavés even though they had numerous chances and if they are to keep up with league leaders Sociedad and defending champions Real Madrid, they will be expected to play better against much better opponents in real Betis than they faced last weekend.
On the European front at least, Barcelona are performing quite well, three straight wins in their UEFA Champions League group have seen them comfortably top of the standings and needing only a point to ensure qualification into the second round. Lionel Messi and defender Gerard Pique were on the scoresheet for Barcelona before a late dynamo goal made for a nervy finish to the game. A major positive for Barcelona is the return of goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter stegen. His calming presence has been missed and he will certainly be crucial as Barca look to get back to winning ways in la Liga.
Real Betis recovered from their relatively slow start to the season with an emphatic 3-1 victory against Elche. The Andalusian side have also had a pretty inconsistent season up till now but look to finally be finding their feet. Goals are arriving just at the right time and that game against Elche could have seen Betis score five or six and chance creation like that will definitely please manager Manuel Pellegrini.
They come up against a Barcelona side who aren’t in the best of form and this is a great opportunity for Betis to try and get some revenge here after losing on this ground last season. Betis have 4 wins from their 8 games this season and will be looking to make it 5 from 9 but must know it will be no easy task. Coach Manuel Pellegrini has had plenty to say about Barcelona in the build-up to this game and will need to step up to the plate at the Camp Nou this weekend.
Barcelona – Marc-Andre ter Stegen was Barcelona’s saviour against Dynamo Kyiv and will make his first La Liga start of the season this weekend. Samuel Umtiti returned to training last week but is still unavailable for this one. Coutinho remains out until after the international break.
Possible Barça XI – Ter Stegen, Dest, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Pjanic, De Jong, Fati, Messi, Trincao, Griezmann.
Real Betis – Real Betis have a number of injured players in their ranks and will have to do without Victor Camarasa, Francis, and Dani Martin in this game. Former Barcelona shot-stopper Claudio Bravo has recovered from his injury and will feature in the starting eleven this weekend.
Possible Betis XI – Bravo; Moreno, Bartra, Aissa Mandi, Emerson; Rodriguez, Carvalho; Joaquin, Sergio Canales, Fekir; Iglesias.
- Games between Barcelona and Real Betis have yielded an average of two goals per match.
- Real Betus have lost twenty-one out of the last thirty-six away league games.
- Nine out of the last ten away league games that saw Betis concede first were lost by the visitors.
- Barcelona have failed to keep a clean sheet since the first two rounds.
Betis have played well on occasion this season but still have trouble defending. Barcelona while having a rough patch are the kind of team that exploits space and will get a lot of space in this game. Barcelona to win by a few goals.