The Catalans continue their stride towards retaining the La Liga title with a trip to Real Betis, determined to grab first of three wins they need to grab the trophy. On the other side, Betis appear to be safely situated in the lower half of the table looking forward to the swift ending of a terrible season.
Big problems for Los Betisos
It has been a pretty frustrating season for Los Beticos, who sit 13th in La Liga table with 41 points to their name following 35 round of the Spanish top tier. Real Betis have been winless in four of their last seven outings, and are coming from a disappointing 2-0 derby loss at Sevilla. Kevin Gameiro and Coke struck two goals to dispatch Juan Merino’s men, who were unable to get their feet on the ground for the most of the proceedings. Los Beticos failed to display consistent performances throughout and will be happy to see the season end. Disappointing campaign resulted in sports director Eduardo Macia getting the sack, while head of scouting Vlada Stosic is likely to follow him out of the club as the sports sector of the club were blamed for the team’s poor results. With most of the current crop failing to live up to expectations, Ruben Castro was the only one to stand out of the crowd with 17 goals to his name. The experienced 34-year-old Spanish forward bagged seven goals in his last ten appearances for the club and will be the one to keep a close eye on.
Juan Merino will be without Cristiano Picini and Juan Vargas who are struggling with cruciate ligament rupture and a hamstring injury, respectively.
Barcelona out to send a message
Spanish champions have seemingly overcome their problems and seem to have returned on the path to retain another La Liga trophy. Four defeats in five matches across two competitions, including the stunning Champions League elimination by Atletico Madrid were a heavy blow for Luis Enrique’s men, who did well to get back to winning ways with impressive back-to-back victories. The Catalans have put eight goals past Deportivo La Coruna, while they have also put in an impressive display against Gijon last time out. Six goals at Camp Nou were enough to reassure the fans that Barcelona will not give up the fight to remain top of the league. Level on points with second-placed Atletico Madrid, Blaugrana need to win all of their three remaining matches and a trip to Betis is a good place to start. Luis Suarez got his scoring boots back on having scored the total of eight goals in his last two appearances for Barca. The Uruguay striker has so far bagged 34 goals this season and is leading the charts in front Cristiano Ronaldo who scored 31 thus far.
Luis Enrique will be glad to report there are no injury problems to his squad. Mathieu returned to training and Barcelona coach will have a full crop of players to choose from for the Saturday’s match.
Barcelona are out on a mission after their most recent slump in form and Luis Enrique’s men are keen to end the season on a high, with impressive and comprehensive performances all the way through. Betis are having plenty of problems this season and we don’t see this one going any other way then Barcelona grabbing another three points.
Top pick: HT/FT Away win 1.44 (4/9) @Coral
Alternative pick 1: Barcelona to win to nil 2.05 (21/20) @WilliamHill
Alternative pick 2: Luis Suarez to score anytime 1.5 (1/2) @Bet365