Real Betis vs Barcelona
It has been quite a rough week for Barcelona on and off the field.
The Catalan giants slipped to the second seed at the La Liga table with a defeat against Valencia, and they were eliminated in the Copa del Rey after losing to Athletic Bilbao last night.
Other than that, there’s seems to be a bit of trouble brewing in Camp Nou as most reports have indicated. Lionel Messi and sports director Eric Abidal had some beef to which the former snapped on his Instagram account.
“I think when one speaks about the players, they should give names because if not they’re dirtying everyone and feeding things that are said and are not true,” said Messi on his post.
Furthermore, team manager Quique Setien quickly dispelled such notion and he bared that the team has been making good progress despite their recent struggles.
Barca will face a Real Betis club who has been having a hard time in finding their footing. The Heliopolitans lost against Getafe CF and drew level against a relegation candidate in Eibar.
Allow SBOTOP to offer you some talking points ahead of this match.
Messi with one foot out of the door?
In lieu of recent events inside Camp Nou, there have been rumblings about a possible departure by Lionel Messi. The Argentinean superstar is linked to Manchester City for a possible reunion with Pep Guardiola.
Messi has a clause in his contract where he holds the right to terminate his Barca contract at any time and that should leave the team concerned given their rough week on and off the field.
For starters, Ousmane Dembele has yet to fulfill his potential in Camp Nou with his myriad of injuries. The French forward is set to have surgery on his problematic hamstring that knocked him out of commission for the most part this term.
After dominating their opponents en route to the Copa del Rey quarterfinals, the Catalan giants suffered a massive collapse when Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams scored the game-winning goal during added time.
Barca’s defence was unable to clear the ball out and Ibai Gomez delivered a wonderful volley that bounced off the head of Inaki Williams much to the delight of the crowd.
It doesn’t help either when their rivals in Los Blancos have elevated to the top spot after being undefeated for 13 La Liga matches in a row.
The club, however, has uncovered some diamonds in the rough as Ansu Fati emerged as a strong attacker up front that can fit well alongside Lionel Messi and Antoinne Griezmann.
It’s mind-blowing how the 17-year-old is already playing at a high level in the big stage. The Guinea-Bissau native scored a brace in their fixture against Levante and we can expect more La Liga 2020 highlights from him moving forward.
Barca’s new regime under Quique Setien have endured some rocky roads as of late, and it will be interesting on how will the team fare over these next few days.
Real Betis face an old friend
The home team will see the return of their former manager in Quique Setien months after they parted ways on a sour note.
Setien was dubbed as one of the club’s most successful managers since he achieved the highest winning percentage for the team in top-flight which includes notable victories against Barcelona, Sevilla, and Real Madrid. He took over for the club in 2017.
However, the two parties had a bitter fallout since results dried up which included some harsh losses against Leganes and Levante. What made things worse is that he had to deal with fair-weathered fans that constantly criticised him during the said stretch.
Fast forward to today, the Heliopolitans aren’t doing well for themselves this term as they are only placed 12th in the standings.
One of their main problems is their inability to stop attackers from scoring as they have conceded 34 goals so far this season. Their attack, on the other hand, has been inconsistent at best.
The team managed to hold Real Madrid to a goalless draw last November while notching some statement wins against Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad. However, they struggled to finish off lower seeded teams.
Team boss Rubi would have to do a better job in getting his guys to be more consistent. Real Betis still has the likes of Loren Moron and Joaquin, who have accounted for 15 of the team’s 30 goals.
The Catalan giants have dominated Real Betis in their head-to-head matchups as they’ve won 22 while the latter won in eight along with seven draws.
Barca’s wins against the home team always come in high-scoring fashion. Last year, they scored nine goals in their previous two matches while conceding only three.