It’s the first of February and that also marks the very first game if the month. It’s a midweek La Liga game which is our game in hand. At 9pm local time, we’ll be travelling away to the Benito Villamarin to face Real Betis. It’s another must win game for us, especially considering Madrid’s result the other day. Of course, its not going to be an easy game as it never is against Betis.
But what always is guaranteed are goals. In the majority of our last meetings, there’s been at least an average of 6 goals a game. So although it’s going to be a difficult occasion, it should hopefully be an enjoyable game.
A quick look at our opponents:
We have already faced Real Betis once this season. That was just a couple weeks ago in the Spanish SuperCup. Where you’ll remember we had to go all the way to penalties in order to beat them. We did dominate the majority of the game but weren’t clinical enough in-front of goal. Which ended up coming back to haunt us. It’s a lesson we should’ve taken from that game. And if we stand any chance of getting a positive result tonight, we need to ensure we take our chances.
Betis currently find themselves in 6th place, 3 points off the top 4. They’ve scored a total of 20 goals this season and conceded only 14. Which is just over double the amount we have so far. In their last 5 games, Betis have won twice, lost twice and drew once. With their most recent result coming as a 1-0 win away to Getafe. They will be yet another stern test for us. But of course, ensuring a positive result tonight for us is the most important thing.
One big piece of news coming into the game tonight is the return of Robert Lewandowski. He has been a huge miss in our front line for the past three league games. And although we arent solely reliant on him for goals, he is the one player who is clinical in-front of goal. He not only gives us a bigger threat, but he makes players around him play better. Ansu and Ferran both perform well with him as a strike partner. And Raphinha plays a lot more like himself when he has a target to aim for in the box.
All of this is important now more than ever because of Dembele’s injury. It was his first injury in 14 months and its something he doesn’t deserve. Dembele has been incredible ever since Xavi took over. And he will undoubtedly be a massive miss for the next month or so. We just need him to get back as soon as possible, back to his physical best again.
Another piece of excitement coming into the game is the official registration of Gavi as a first team player. He will inherit the number 6 shirt, which was of course famously worn by our Boss, Xavi Hernandez. Lamine Yamal and Angel Alarcon trained with the first team yesterday, so it’ll be interesting to see of they get called up.
I think at least Alarcon will be. In terms of the overall setup, i think we’re more likely to go with the four man midfield again. Right now it seems a lot more fluid than our traditional 4-3-3 system. And especially with Dembele out, we;re going to have to experiment around. Our last game against Girona wasn’t an easy one and it would’ve taken it out of the team. Especially with how much we had to struggle to get the win.
Ideally, it would’ve been good to rest someone like Kounde or Araujo, but we weren’t able to. I think at least one of them will be rested,and tha could possibly be Araujo. With Christensen coming into replace him. Marcos Alonso was useless against Girona. He plays slightly better at centre back, but he shouldn’t be counted on as left back. Eric had a solid game against Girona. So i wouldn’t be surprised to see him get another start. Balde should also return at left back.
Kounde- Eric- Christensen- Balde
Pedri- Frenkie- Busquets- Gavi
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