High-flying Real Betis will host Barcelona in Matchweek 35 of the 2021/22 La Liga campaign at the Benito Villamarin on Saturday.

With Real Madrid securing the La Liga title last week, the only task left on Barcelona’s agenda would be to finish second in the league. The Blaugrana are currently second with 66 points after 34 gameweeks, two points more than third-placed Sevilla and five more than fourth-placed Atletico Madrid.

Xavi’s men have undergone a mixed run of results recently with three defeats in their last five matches across competitions. Their most recent outing ended in a 2-1 victory over RCD Mallorca with Memphis Depay and Sergio Busquets scoring a goal in either half to give the Catalans all three points.

Barcelona will be pleased to be in a position to finish second in the league, especially after their dismal start to the season which saw Ronald Koeman getting the sack. They will want to finish the season on a high and start preparing for the next term in an attempt to challenge for the league title under Xavi.

Real Betis, on the other hand, have had another great season under manager Manuel Pellegrini and look set to better their last season’s league finish. Pellegrini led the side to the sixth spot in La Liga last term, and they are currently fifth, two points off sixth-placed Real Sociedad.

Betis are fresh off a Copa del Rey final win over Valencia. The final, played on April 24, finished 1-1 after extra time with Betis prevailing on penalties. Los Verdiblancos were held to a goalless draw by Getafe in their latest La Liga encounter. They are three points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid and still stand a chance of qualifying for the Champions League.

Their recent form paints a better picture than Barcelona with just one defeat in their last five matches across competitions. Betis will want to continue in a similar vein and complete a league double over the Blaugrana, having defeated them 1-0 at the Camp Nou earlier this season.

Team News & Tactics

Real Betis

Real Betis will be without Victor Camarasa and Martin Montoya for Barcelona’s visit. Paul Akoukou returns to the squad after serving a suspension last time out, which eases some of the selection issues.

Manuel Pellegrini is expected to continue with a 4-2-3-1 that has served them quite well over the past two seasons. Former Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo will continue in goal for Betis with a back four of Youssouf Sabaly, German Pezzella, Marc Bartra and Alex Moreno expected to start with Bartra’s inclusion being the only change.

Guido Rodriguez will continue in midfield with William Carvalho partnering him in a double pivot. They will look to stifle their Barcelona counterparts in Gavi and Frenkie de Jong. Aitor Ruibal, Nabil Fekir and Juanmi will play as the three attacking midfielders with Borja Iglesias leading the line.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Bravo; Sabaly, Pezzella, Bartra, Moreno; Rodriguez, Carvalho; Ruibal, Fekir, Juanmi; Iglesias

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Barcelona

Xavi will have multiple first-team stars absent from the squad to travel to Betis. As Barcelona try to strengthen their hold on the second spot in the league table, the Spanish tactician will continue with his possession-based style.

Martin Brathwaite, Sergino Dest, Oscar Mingueza, Nico Gonzalez, Pedri, Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto are set to miss out due to respective injuries. Marc Andre ter Stegen will also likely be unavailable due to an illness and could be replaced by Neto between the goal with Eric Garcia expected to slot in for Pique at the heart of the defence.

The midfield three of Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets and Gavi will keep their place from the win over Mallorca. Gavi, who is close to signing a new contract, will have an important role to play with his driving runs acting as a key source of attacking impetus for the visitors.

Ferran Torres, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Memphis Depay, who impressed against Mallorca, ought to start as their front three. Adama Traore, Ousmane Dembele and the fit-again Ansu Fati will be options from the bench.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Neto; Alves, Araujo, Garcia, Alba; F de Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Torres, Aubameyang, Memphis

Key Stats

  • Real Betis have beaten Barcelona just twice in their last 19 meetings, with both their wins coming in the last three years.
  • The last time Betis won consecutive matches against Barcelona was back in 2002.
  • Three red cards have been brandished in the last five meetings between these two sides.
  • Barcelona have just once failed to score against Real Betis across competitions since a 3-0 defeat in 2002: the 1-0 La Liga defeat earlier this season.
  • Betis have scored in each of their last seven matches against Barcelona.

Player to Watch

Memphis Depay

The Dutch forward became Barcelona’s top-scorer this season by netting against Mallorca last time out to take his tally to 12 goals. He is in a close contest with fellow forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has scored 11 goals since joining the Catalan giants this January.

Despite making an impression, Depay continues to be linked with an exit from Camp Nou in the summer. But with the forward keen on staying put, he will be keen on making a strong impression in the remainder of the campaign. Expect Memphis to be in the thick of things when the two sides line up at the Benito Villamarin.

Prediction

Real Betis 2-2 Barcelona

The last few encounters between these two sides, barring the last one, have been high-scoring affairs. Real Betis are eager to push for a top-four spot and could come out all guns blazing against Xavi’s side, who are fighting to confirm their second-place finish that will guarantee a spot in the Spanish Supercup for next season. It could be a tightly-contested affair at the Benito Villamarin, with The Hard Tackle predicting a 2-2 draw.

One Response to “Real Betis vs Barcelona Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats”

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  1. Adolphus Williams says:

    F CB should kick on goal today against real Belts.

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