Match Preview: Real Betis v FC Barcelona

Match Preview: Real Betis v FC Barcelona

The Blaugrana head to the Benito Villamarín (Sunday 8.45pm CET), a stadium where they could only draw last season, looking to remain unbeaten in the League

Barça will be looking to bounce straight back from their midweek loss at Espanyol, as they complete their third away trip in a week before four consecutive fixtures in Catalonia.

Team News

Samuel Umtiti has been declared fit and included in the squad, while Gerard Deulofeu is called back up for duty and there's also room for Carles Aleñá of Barça B.

Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembélé, Paco Alcácer, Andrés Iniesta and Javier Mascherano all miss out through injury, and Rafinha, Denis Suárez and Yerry Mina also stay at home.

The full FCB squad is as follows: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Suárez, Messi, Cillessen, Paulinho, Deulofeu, Jordi Alba, Digne, Sergi Roberto, André Gomes, Aleix Vidal, Umtiti, Vermaelen and Aleñá.

Zouhair Feddal and Aissa Mandi return from suspension for Betis and should come straight back into the starting XI. Francis will continue to deputise for the injured Antonio Barragan at right-back, whilst Cristian Tello is likely to be included against his former team-mates.

Coaches’ viewpoints

“Betis are a brave team that likes to keep hold of the ball” said Ernesto Valverde on the eve of the match. “They play good, attacking football. Their recent results have been a boost for their morale, especially the win against Sevilla. It’s going to be an interesting, difficult encounter.”

He also insisted that “the players won’t be distracted by the cup second leg against Espanyol next Thursday. Ultimately, La Liga is the competition that they are always most strongly focused on.”

Betis coach Quique Setién claimed at his press conference on Friday that his side are “in fine form and will be courageous” against the Blaugrana.

Form Guide

Barça suffered their first defeat for 29 games this week, a 0-1 loss to Espanyol in the Copa del Rey. Prior to that reverse, they had won eight and drawn two of the previous 10, keeping clean sheets in seven.

After a run of five games without a victory, Betis have found some form again recently, winning three of the last four and scoring 10 goals in those fixtures - five of those in a memorable defeat of local rivals Sevilla.


Barça have only lost twice to Betis in the League since 2004, both defeats coming in Andalusia. In the last 10 meetings home and away, the Blaugrana have won eight and drawn the other two, one of which came in the meeting last season.

Goals are almost certainly guaranteed as there have been no goalless draws in the fixture this century, and at least two goals have been scored in every match between the two sides since 1996.


The game will be broadcast on numerous channels around the world but if for whatever reason you can’t get to see the game, you could try listening instead to our live English commentary on Radio Barça (the link will appear on the home page shortly before kick-off), or checking our official Twitter account.

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Força Barça

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