Real Betis vs Real Madrid Preview
Real Madrid will look to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to Real Sociedad, as they face Real Betis at the Benito Villamarin.
Los Blancos has failed to win their last two La Liga games and desperately need a victory to keep their slim title hopes alive.
They are currently outside the Champions League places and lie in fifth place in La Liga.
The pressure is starting to grow on Santiago Solari and with key games against Sevilla, Alaves and Atletico Madrid to come within the next few weeks, this is a defining period for Real Madrid’s season and Solari’s future.
Real Betis are just four points behind Real Madrid and a win will help keep their hopes of earning a Champions League place alive.
Los Verdiblancos are also without win in their last two La Liga games. However, recent history against Real Madrid is against them.
Real Madrid have won seven of their last 10 visits to Benito Villamarin in La Liga and have only failed to score in one of their last 17 games in Betis.
Real Madrid are missing goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and midfielder Toni Kroos both ruled out for Sunday’s game.
Marcos Llorente and Marco Asensio are also both unlikely to be available. Lucas Vazquez will also be missing due to a one-match suspension.
With a number of injuries in midfield, Isco could get the nod, despite fallen out of favor since Solari took over as Real Madrid boss.
Meanwhile, Real Betis left-back Junior Firpo is likely to be missing, leaving Cristian Tello to continue to deputize on the left-hand side.
Center-back Sidnei remains out, while midfielder Takashi Inui is unavailable due to representing Japan at the Asian Cup.
Last season, Real Madrid won a eight goal thriller against Real Betis at the Benito Villamarin winning 5-3.
Los Blancos have scored an incredible 17 goals in their last four visits to Betis.
However, Real Madrid have lost their last two La Liga away games in Andalusia, with both defeats coming against Sevilla.
Real Betis’ last win came in November 2012, thanks to a goal from Benat Etxebarria.
Real Betis (5-3-2): Pau Lopez, Tello, Feddal, Bartra, Mandi, Guerrero; Lo Celso, Carvalho, Canales; Sanabria, Joaquin
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Ceballos; Isco, Benezma, Vinicius
Both sides have been indifferent form of late and this is a tough game to call.
This is a must win game for Real Madrid, if they want to keep their title chances alive. Santiago Solari’s side will take encouragement of their recent record at the Benito Villamarin.
However, Real Betis manager Quique Setien has shown how tactical astute he can be, particularly in Real Betis 4-3 victory against Barcelona at the Camp Nou earlier in the season.
Setien’s side have scored in each of their last nine La Liga games but have struggled to keep a clean sheet during that run with only three games where they haven’t conceded a goal.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid have also struggled defensively this season, so expect this one to be a goalfest.
Prediction: Real Betis 2-2 Real Madrid
Photo credit to Asociación Beticismo via Flickr