Midweek round of the Spanish La Liga kicks off with a highly anticipated and over 110 years contested Seville derby on Tuesday night. Sevilla and Real Betis both head into the game feeling pressure after a couple of underwhelming results and the local derby is the perfect chance to earn a much needed morale boost.
The summer of big changes is behind us and it can no longer serve as an alibi for the lack of results at Sevilla. Jorge Sampaoli is struggling to find the winning formula in order to get his team up and running in full speed. Unai Emery’s successor is shuffling his deck which resulted in Sevilla becoming the first La Liga side to start a game with no Spanish players in the starting XI at the weekend. Despite six different nationalities from three different continents, Sevilla have been forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Eibar. Rojiblancos head into the great Seville derby against Real Betis on the back of consecutive stalemates and their third draw in last five games. On the positive note, having seen them open the new season on the back of consecutive Super Cup defeats to Real Madrid at the international scene and to Barcelona at the domestic one, Jorge Sampaoli’s men are yet to lose their La Liga match which offers some reassurance ahead of Real Betis’ visit.
Adil Rami has picked up an injury after only 15 minutes of Eibar clash and will be joining David Soria, Benoit Tremoulinas and Michael Krohn-Dehli, who have been locked in the medical room for quite some time now. Sampaoli will also be without Samir Nasri, who is struggling with illness.
Real Betis are going into the Seville derby on the back of the 2-2 draw against Granada. Striker Alex Alegria scored two goals to help his team salvage a home draw against 10-man Granada and los Beticos can count themselves as extremely fortunate to avoid defeat last time out. Draw against Granada is a huge step back after a memorable 3-2 win at Valencia and there is no doubt that Gus Poyet will urge his players to find consistency and get a grip of their performances early in the season. Local derbies usually are great way to build up team’s morale and self-confidence, but Real Betis are aware that history and numbers are not working in their favour. Los Beticos have last won the Seville derby in La Liga back in 2012, but will be looking to replicate their 2-0 Europa League win at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan from 2014. Last three derbies, however, offer little reason to feel optimistic as Real Betis lost them all, failing to score a single goal in the process.
Dani Gimenez is suspended for the occasion, while Gus Poyet will also be without Jonas Martin, Alex Martinez, Fabian Ruiz and Antonio Sanabria who are all struggling with their respective injuries.
Seville sides are both struggling to find the right pace early in the season, but Jorge Sampaoli’s men boast individual quality, that should be enough to see them record their fourth straight victory over local rivals. Highly anticipated derby is bound to be an openly contested affair, the one fans will enjoy regardless of the result.
Top pick: Sevilla 1.53 (8/15) @WilliamHill
Alternative pick 1: Sevilla/Sevilla 2.35 (27/20) @Coral
Alternative pick 2: Sevilla to win to Nil 3.00 (2/1) BetVictor