Barcelona will be aiming to continue their winning run when they lock horns with Real Betis in La Liga at Estadio Benito Villamarin on Sunday night.
Barcelona will be looking to make it six wins in six games across all competitions when they face off against Real Betis in Matchday 22 of the 2020/21 La Liga at Estadio Benito Villamarin this weekend.
Having made a torrid start to the season, Barcelona have made a good recovery over the past few weeks. Ronald Koeman’s men are on a ten-game unbeaten run in the league, which has seen them rise to the third place in the table. Following a sensational 5-3 comeback win against Granada in the Copa del Rey earlier in the week, confidence will be sky high within the Catalan camp.
Real Betis, meanwhile, are seventh in La Liga, following a five-game unbeaten run in the competition. However, Manuel Pellegrini’s men head into the weekend clash on the back of a penalty shootout defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey quarter-final and will be aiming to produce a strong reaction and continue their push for a top-six finish.
The reverse fixture, played at Camp Nou las November, saw Barcelona thrash Real Betis 5-2 with goals coming from Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi (2) and Pedri while Antonio Sanabria and Loren Moron scored for the opposition. Ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday night, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
— Real Betis Balompié (@RealBetis_en) February 6, 2021
Real Betis will be without the services of Diego Lainez, Victor Camarasa, Dani Martin along with former Barcelona stars Claudio Bravo and Marc Bartra. Yassin Fekir, the brother of key man Nabil Fekir has been included in the squad for the game against the Catalan giants.
Manuel Pellegrini will deploy his troops in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Barcelona with Joel Robles manning the goal for the hosts. Victor Ruiz and Aissa Mandi ought to be the two centre-backs for Los Verdiblancos with Emerson and Alex Moreno completing the backline slotting in as the full-backs.
William Carvalho and Guido Rodriguez ought to take up the two spots in the midfield double pivot and look to cut the influence of Barcelona’s midfield runners in Pedri and Frenkie de Jong. The creative onus will likely fall on the shoulders of Sergio Canales, who is likely to slot in as the No. 10 for Real Betis.
Nabil Fekir ought to slot in on the left-wing from where he will look to veer infield and create overloads in central areas. 39-year-old Joaquin should feature on the right flank for Real Betis with Loren Moron spearheading the attack against Barcelona.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Robles; Emerson, Mandi, Ruiz, Moreno; Carvalho, Rodriguez; Joaquin, Canales, Fekir; Moron
Barcelona have been dealt with a fresh injury blow as Sergi Roberto has been ruled out with another thigh issue days after making his return. Ansu Fati, Gerard Pique and Philippe Coutinho all remain unavailable for selection on Sunday.
With the Copa del Rey semi-final against Sevilla coming up next week, Ronald Koeman might opt to rotate his players on Sunday. No changes are expected in goal though, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen the undisputed starter while the impressive Ronald Araujo and Jordi Alba should keep their places in the Catalans’ defence.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 6, 2021
With Roberto out and Sergino Dest recently returning from a brief injury layoff himself, Oscar Mingueza could get the nod at right-back while Clement Lenglet should replace Samuel Umtiti as Araujo’s partner at centre-back against Real Betis.
Sergio Busquets could be given a breather with Miralem Pjanic coming in at the base of the Barcelona midfield from where he will look to orchestrate play. Frenkie de Jong has been an ever-present figure in midfield and given his importance to the team, could start again on Sunday alongside Pedri, with the duo charged with providing the forward thrust from the centre.
Antoine Griezmann, who is finally starting to hit his best form in Barcelona colours ought to line up on the left flank while Ousmane Dembele gets the nod on the right. Lionel Messi will be the man leading the attack for the Blaugrana.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Mingueza, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; Pedri, Pjanic, de Jong; Dembele, Messi, Griezmann
- Barcelona are unbeaten on their last nine visits to Real Betis in La Liga (W6 D3) since a defeat back in 2008.
- Real Betis have won just one of their previous 19 matches against Barcelona in La Liga (D3 L15).
- Barcelona have lost two of their last five away games against Andalusian outfits in La Liga (W2 D1), as many as they had in their previous 18 such contests (W12 D4).
- Real Betis are undefeated in their last five home matches in La Liga.
- Barcelona have scored at least three goals in their last six matches against Real Betis in all competitions.
Player to Watch
The Barcelona captain has been dominating the headlines of late for the wrong reasons after details of his Barcelona contract were leaked. Putting aside the controversy, Lionel Messi inspired his team to a huge comeback win against Granada in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals earlier in the week.
The 33-year-old enjoys a healthy record against Real Betis, having scored 21 goals and set up 10 more in 21 La Liga matches against the Verdiblancos. He has relished the trips to the Benito Villamarin of late as well, contributing with five goals and seven assists in his last five appearances at Betis’ home ground. Expect him to do some serious damage on Sunday.
Real Betis 1-2 Barcelona
Real Betis have been in a good run of form in La Liga, going unbeaten in their last five matches. However, Barcelona are clicking again after a dull start, with things starting to fall in place for Ronald Koeman. With the likes of Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong all in top form, the hosts might find it hard to stem the Catalans on Sunday. The Hard Tackle predicts another win for Barcelona, taking them to the second spot in the table.