First game back from the international break, and its going to be a tricky one. Against one of the best teams in the league, tonight at 9pm local time we’ll be playing against Real Betis. Live from the Estadi Montjuic. First games back from international breaks are always weird ones. We always start off slower than we’re used to. But we can’t afford to slack off in tonight’s game.
Real Betis are a very good footballing side, with some talented players. And they’re going to provide a good test for us later this evening. Not only is this the first game back from the international break, but this is also the first of 3 games coming up this week, with them all being played at home. We need to of course make the most of it, but this is the start point for when the games begin coming thick and fast. There is another boring international break in October. Which means that over the next 22 days, we will be playing 7 games. Which works out to just be about a game every 3 days. One good thing is that the majority of the 7 games will be played at home. But the most important thing this month and beyond is rotation. We need to manage the squad perfectly so we can keep everyone fresh and fit for the upcoming games.
A look at our opponent
As mentioned above Real Betis are a very good side, and one of the best in La Liga. So its going to be a big test for us. They’ve got some wonderful technicians in there like Fekir, Isco and Rodri. And with Manuel Pellegrini involved, they play a great style of football. Also, they’re nothing like our first 2 games of the season where they park the bus. Betis will be looking to play football, so there will be space to exploit and to gain dominance in the game. Which makes a nice change from facing a low block. It’s still too early on in the season to get a clear gauge of how Betis are going to be like throughout the season, but games between the two of us never disappoint. Goals are always expected and we can be guaranteed to face a good test. That’s common knowledge by now.
When it comes to the lineup, Xavi did mention in yesterday’s press conference that there will be rotations. And like we mentioned previously, that is going to be very important over this next month. I think the team pretty much picks itself. The only few questions would come with Raphinha and Gundogan. Reportedly, Raphinha is tired from his games for Brazil, so he isn’t expected to start. Although that could change. And Gundogan suffered a heavy knock to his back in midweek, so I wouldn’t expect to see him start either. Of course, we have a very important game against Antwerp on Tuesday, and we can’t underestimate that. So rotations are key.
Champions League around the corner
With that in mind, i would rest Gundogan for that game. I also wouldn’t start Yamal tonight either. I’d save him for Antwerp. The two Joao’s should start, especially Cancelo. And I really want to see Ferran start tonight too. If Raphinha is fit enough, then he should start on the right. If not, then its Ferran’s time to shine.
My starting 11:
Canceló- Kounde- Christensen- Balde
Gavi- Romeu- Frenkie
Ferran- Lewandowski- Felix