Barcelona travel to the city of Seville in the Andalusian region to take on Real Betis at the Estadio Benito Villamarin for the La Liga encounter on the 7th of May. Barcelona will be hoping to capitalize on their opponents slipping up and strengthen their hold on the second spot in La Liga. The Catalan giants are currently two points ahead of Sevilla in third place. Meanwhile, their opponents on Saturday, Real Betis are three points behind Atletico Madrid in fourth place as the race for the top four spots continues to heat up.
Real Betis have had a dream campaign this season. They lifted the prestigious Copa del Rey trophy for only the third time in their history last month. The site from Seville managed to get the better of Valencia in the final and they are also in the race for the Champions League positions in the league going into the final few matchdays.
Having amassed 58 points from 34 matches, Real Betis are currently occupying the fifth spot in the table. They are just three points behind last season’s champions Atletico Madrid in fourth place having played the same number of games. A win in this game against Barcelona would lift their morale considerably as Betis will gear up to face Valencia, Granada, and Real Madrid in their final few matches this season in La Liga.
Securing points here will keep Real Betis’ dreams of playing Champions League football next season well and truly arrive. It will also put further pressure on Atletico Madrid who meet neighbours, arch-rivals, and newly crowned La Liga champions Real Madrid at home this weekend. Real Betis are also two points ahead of Real Sociedad in the Europa Conference League spot, while having a game in hand.
The Green and Whites haven’t been able to manage a top four finish in La Liga since 2005. In their previous league match, they were held to goalless draw by Getafe on May 2. This has been up a period of erratic form for them as they have only picked up two points from their last three league fixtures. Their last victory in La Liga came nearly a month ago when they defeated Cadiz away from home.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team have won nine, drawn two, and lost six of their last 17 matches at the Estadio Benito Villamarin. They have picked up 29 points at home but will be facing a formidable challenge against Barcelona who have the second-best away record among teams in the Spanish top flight this season. The Catalans have secured 31 points from their 17 matches on the road this season and will be hoping to continue with that same momentum and morale.
In the last league meeting between the two sides earlier this season, Real Betis edged past Barcelona 1-0 at the Camp Nou. However, they also suffered a 3-2 loss at their hands when the two sides met at the Benito Villamarin in La Liga last season.
Barcelona haven’t quite been the same ever since they returned from the international break at the beginning of April. They have lost their only realistic chance of winning silverware this season when Eintracht Frankfurt knocked them out of the Europa League quarter-finals in a miserable fashion. They have also lost steam in La Liga and have suffered a couple of shocking defeats over the last five matches.
There was more pain for Barcelona fans this week as they had to watch their arch-rivals, Real Madrid not only win the La Liga title but also defeat Manchester City in injury time to book their spot in the final of the UEFA Champions League. Xavi’s side will finish the season trophyless but determined to secure the runners-up spot in La Liga which will also be quite an achievement given the poor and difficult start they had at the beginning of the season. Barcelona are currently two points ahead of Sevilla in third place while Atletico Madrid trail their Catalan rivals by five points in fourth place on the Liga table.
Should Real Betis defeat Barcelona here, they will move to within five points of the Catalan giants. Xavi’s men are not yet sure of a top-four finish in the league despite sitting eight points ahead of the team in fifth place given their recent form. They have suffered defeats in three of their last five matches across all competitions that began with the trumping against Eintracht Frankfurt. Barcelona also suffered upsets against Cadiz and Rayo Vallecano at home.
However, they will be arriving into this match after overcoming Mallorca last weekend in a 2-1 triumph where Memphis Depay and Sergio Busquets got on the scoresheet for Xavi’s side. Barcelona will then take on Celta Vigo, Getafe, and Villarreal in their final three league matches of the season. They will back themselves to take all 3 points home from Seville as they have been victorious in five of their last six league matches against Real Betis.
RBB vs BAR, La Liga 2021/22
Date: 7th May, 2022
Time: 12:30 AM IST
Venue: Estadio Benito Villamarin, Seville
Real Betis La Liga form:
Real Betis form (all competitions):
Barcelona La Liga form:
Barcelona form (all competitions):
Real Betis wins: 9
Barcelona wins: 25
Real Betis Team News: Real Betis will be without the services of former Barcelona players Marc Bartra and Martin Montoya who are both out due to injury. They will also miss the likes of William Carvalho and Victor Camarasa. There’s an off chance that Portuguese midfielder Carvalho might recover in time to make it back for this match. However, Sergio Canales is expected to play a deeper role in midfield and line up alongside Guido Rodriguez if Carvalho remains unavailable.
Paul Akouokou will also be available again after serving a suspension in the previous clash.
Manuel Pellegrini might start with Aitor Ruibal on the right flank but changes might be on order as far as the left flank is concerned. Juanmi’s return will bolster the frontline and Borja Iglesias is supposed to find greater help and support in the final third of the pitch.
Barcelona Team News: As far as Barcelona are concerned, they are dealing with injury problems once again as Gerard Pique had to be forced off with an injury in the previous match against Mallorca and is unlikely to be involved here. Therefore, Eric Garcia might partner Ronald Araujo at the heart of the backline once again.
Oscar Mingueza and Martin Braithwaite have also returned to training but are unlikely to play any major role here besides occupying a spot on the bench. Barcelona starlet Ansu Fati made his first appearance since January off the bench last weekend and might perform the same role here. It is unlikely that Xavi will rush him any time soon given his recent injury record as well as the stage of the season.
Nico Gonzalez and Pedri have already been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Dani Alves might start at right-back once again as Sergino Dest and Sergi Roberto are unlikely to be involved here.
Memphis Depay has performed well when started on the left flank instead of a focal point in attack. He might get the nod ahead of Ousmane Dembele who is expected to come off the bench once again, like he did against Mallorca.
Real Betis possible starting lineup:
Bravo; Sabaly, Pezzella, Ruiz, Moreno; Rodriguez, Canales; Ruibal, Fekir, Juanmi; Iglesias
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Alves, Araujo, E Garcia, Alba; F de Jong, Busquets, Gavi; F Torres, Aubameyang, Memphis
Real Betis have had a fantastic season so far, all things considered. They’ve already won the Copa del Rey and are involved in the fight for their first Champions League spot since 2005. They have plenty to play for even in the twilight stages of the season and will be hungry for success. Meeting Barcelona at home will be the perfect test for Real Betis to overcome, and if they manage to do that, they will have the wind flying in their sails in their ambitions of finishing in the top four.
Meanwhile, despite Barcelona’s recent slump, they’ve been fantastic away from home and have lost only twice. However, there’s a chance that they could slip up on points here.