One of the biggest derbies in Spanish football is back to La Liga after a one-year break, with hosts Real Betis heading into Derby sevillano in decent spirits despite losing their last game.
Meanwhile, Sevila have yet to record an away win in this year’s campaign, and what better way to end the barren run than by beating your bitter rivals.
Despite making sure to properly reinforce the squad after returning to the elite division, Real Betis needed quite a while to hit the ground running.
Los Verdiblancos finally turned the corner at the start of November, winning two of three league games to escape the danger zone, while also making it to the next stage of Copa del Rey.
However, while the team have largely impressed on the road, winning four of five games before finally losing to Las Palmas, their home form remains a major issue.
Namely, Real Betis have only recently ended a four-match losing run at Estadio Benito Villamarin, and this is a major cause for concern ahead of the clash with Sevilla.
But, with their local rivals largely struggling on the road, los Verdiblancos are available at 3.80 (14/5) to claim the bragging rights in Andalucia.
Coach Pepe Mel is sweating over the fitness of his star player Joaquin Sanchez, with Cristiano Piccini another injury doubt.
Probable starting line-up (4-4-2): Adan – Piccini, Westermann, Figueras, Vargas – Joaquin, Xavi Torres, Petros, Cejudo – Molina, Ruben Castro.
Sevilla have emerged as one of Spain’s top sides of late, winning two Europa League trophies in a row and finally securing Champions League qualification.
However, it was the difficult European campaign that has prevented los Rojiblancos from reaching their full potential in the league so far, although the good news is that the six-point gap behind top 4 positions doesn’t look too great at the moment.
Sevilla had been pretty inconsistent this term, but they appear to have stablised their form of late, winning five of last six matches in all competitions.
However, that could have something to do with the fact that four of those matches were played at home, where los Rojiblancos had long ago become a force to be reckoned with.
But, having failed to win any of seven away fixtures in La Liga this term (D4 L3), we don’t see a great value in odds of 2.00 (1/1) offered on Sevilla to win at Estadio Benito Villamarin.
Jose Antonio Reyes should be fit to play after recovering from injury, although he will probably have to settle for a second-half appearance, just like Kevin Gameiro, who saved the day against Sporting Gijon.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Rico – Mariano, Rami, Kolodziejczak, Tremoulinas – Krohn-Dehli, Krychowiak – Vitolo, Banega, Konoplyanka – Llorente.