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La Liga Match Preview: Sevilla vs Real Betis

Written By Patrick Echatah

Spanish football features the renowned Seville derby returns as Sevilla takes on Real Betis in a crucial La Liga match on Sunday afternoon. Both squads are capable of delivering a powerful punch on their best days and will be looking to win this weekend.

Sevilla are currently second in the table, six points behind league leaders Real Madrid, while Real Betis occupy third, five points below their opponents this weekend.

STYLE OF PLAY

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui uses a 4-3-3 formation. This formation allows them to switch to a 3-4-3 or a 4-1-4-1 with little variations, being very adaptable even within the same game. We can usually see the defensive midfielder dropping between the centre-backs to form a back-three or the wingers going back to help the midfielders to defend form of counter attack. This transition allows Lopetegui to switch different tactics. 

Real Betis coach, Manuel Pellegrini uses a 4-3-2-1 formation when his team are in possession with Guido Rodríguez, and Sergio Canales in central midfield while Nabil Fekir and Cristian Tello flanking Borja Iglesias as forwards. Betis built play from the back, withdrawing a central midfielder into their defensive line when the opposition press.

FORM

Sevilla have enjoyed an excellent season in Spain’s top flight, picking up 51 points from their 25 matches, which has left them in second spot in the table, six points behind division leaders Real Madrid. Julen Lopetegui’s side were in Europa League action on Thursday evening, suffering a 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the second leg of their knockout round playoff tie, but the Spanish outfit won the first leg 3-1 and therefore advanced to the next stage courtesy of a 3-2 success. Sevilla are actually unbeaten in La Liga since losing away to Real Madrid at the end of November, but they have won just one of their last five, sharing the points on four occasions, including a 1-1 with Espanyol last time out.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side were also in Europa League action on Thursday evening, drawing 0-0 with Zenit St Petersburg, which saw them book their spot in the next round courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate success. Real Betis have also been in excellent form in the league, winning four of their last five matches, including their last two against Levante and Mallorca, which has left them in third spot in the table. The Green and Whites have collected 46 points from their 25 league matches this season, which has left them four points ahead of fourth-placed Barcelona and five behind Sevilla, so the club are also on course to enjoy a famous season, having not finished in the top four since 2005.

HEAD TO HEAD

Sevilla have won 48, drawn 23 and lost 30 of their previous 101 top-flight fixtures with Real Betis, while they are unbeaten in the league in this fixture since September 2018, winning two of their last three contests, including a 1-0 victory in the corresponding match last season. Real Betis have not beaten Sevilla away from home in the league since January 2018, but they have already overcome their rivals this term, recording a 2-1 win in the Copa del Rey back in January, with the match starting on the Saturday and finishing on the Sunday after it was abandoned due to an object being thrown from the crowd at Sevilla midfielder Joan Jordan.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Youssef En-Nesyri is the player to watch for Sevilla, the Moroccan has scored 3 goals and provided 1 assists in 11 matches for the Spanish club. The 24-year-old striker has been the standout player for Sevilla. Juanmi will pose a huge threat to the opponent, Juanmi has 12 goals and 1 assist in 21 matches. Real Betis will be looking to Borja Iglesias and Willian José to score the goals for Real Betis.

TEAM NEWS

Sevilla: Sevilla will be without a number of important players for this match, with Lucas Ocampos and Jules Koundemissing through suspension, while Anthony Martial, Karim Rekik, Suso and Erik Lamela are all injured. The home side are also unlikely to be able to call upon Diego Carlos due to an injury that the defender picked up against Dinamo in the Europa League, so Thomas Delaney’s could start alongside Nemanja Gudelj in the middle of the defence this weekend. Jordan is also expected to return in central midfield, while a front three could include Rafa Mir at centre-forward, although Youssef En-Nesyri is also pushing to be involved from the start.

Real Betis: Martin Montoya and Juan Miranda remain on the sidelines through injury, while Victor Camarasa and Rodri are doubts for the home side. Real Betis coach Pellegrini will make changes from the team that started in the Europa League on Thursday, with Juanmi, Marc Bartra, Borja Iglesias and William Carvalho all in line to return.Sergio Canales and Nabil Fekir will again operate in advanced areas for the away side, while Hector Bellerin and Alex Moreno should continue in the full-back positions for the Green and Whites.

Read Also – From Champions To Fighting For Top Four: What’s Wrong With Atlético Madrid?

PREDICTED LINEUP

Sevilla (4-3-3): Bounou; Montiel, Delaney, Gudelj, Acuna; Rakitic, Fernando, Jordan; Corona, Mir, Gomez

Real Betis (4-2-3-1): Silva; Bellerin, Bartra, Gonzalez, Moreno; Rodriguez, Carvalho; Juanmi, Canales, Fekir; Iglesias

VERDICT

Sevilla will be a missing a whole host of important players for this weekend’s match, which is certainly a concern considering Real Betis’ form entering the contest. With a full squad, we would be backing Sevilla to edge this match, but under the circumstances, Real Betis should be able to claim a welcome point. Sevilla 1-1 Real Betis

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