Football has returned after the week off, and La Liga is back with a bang. There are intense battles up and down the table and in the battle for the European spots, there are some big clashes this weekend. Not only Valencia welcoming Real Sociedad to the Mestalla and a troubled Atletico Madrid side are visiting Barcelona at the Nou Camp, but an in-form Real Betis will meet Villarreal too.
Can this in-form Real Betis side continue their winning streak against Villarreal?
Both in Good Form
Fresh off of an emphatic Copa del Rey quarter-final win, Real Betis will be back in La Liga action this weekend. Manuel Pellegrini’s side put four past Real Sociedad at Anoeta on Thursday evening. Juanmi netted either side of half-time before substitutes Willian Jose and Aitor Ruibal got in on the act late on.
Manuel Pellegrini's West Ham were dire by the end, but his Real Betis side are 3rd & the 2nd top scorers in Spain. West Ham "flop" Haller has scored 22 goals in 24 games.
Got to eradicate the thinking that if you fail at a certain club, at a certain time, you aren't talented.
— Dougie Critchley (@DougieCritchley) February 4, 2022
Meanwhile, Villarreal have won seven of their last ten in all competitions. There was a slight blip in early January that included a dramatic draw with Atleti as well as a shock defeat to Elche away from home. Besides that, though, Unai Emery’s men are on red-hot form. They began the campaign well but found scoring goals a slight issue. Gerard Moreno may not be at his clinical best but Arnaut Danjuma, who arrived from Bournemouth in the summer, has exceeded expectations. Along with that, there have been goals from midfield from the likes of Manu Trigueros and Dani Parejo.
The tale of the tape for these two form teams
As previously mentioned, both Betis and Villarreal have enjoyed a rich vein of form in recent months. Manuel Pellegrini and Unai Emery are two managers who failed to impress in the Premier League, so to see them thriving in Spain is quite something. The latter has become known as somewhat of a Europa League specialist, whether it be with Sevilla or Villarreal. When the Yellow Submarine and Betis last met, Danjuma starred as the Dutchman bagged a brace. This proved to be the difference back in October at Estadio de la Ceramica.
🎂 Happy birthday, Arnaut Danjuma!
Arguably the signing of the summer turns 25 today.
⚽️ 18 appearances
🔥 9 goals
🤝 3 assists
🎯 9 key passes
🎩 62 dribbles
👀 8.5 xG#LLL
— La Liga Lowdown 🧡🇪🇸⚽️ (@LaLigaLowdown) January 31, 2022
Given the home advantage at the Benito Villamarin as well as the league standings, Betis are the favourites on paper. The team from Seville currently sit third behind only Real Madrid and their city rivals Sevilla. Atleti, Barcelona and La Real are amongst those close behind and then come Villarreal, all of whom could easily finish a Champions League spot. This in-form Real Betis team last lost in early January when Iago Aspas was on target twice for his beloved Celta Vigo.
One of the other men entrusted with scoring the goals following Moreno’s dip in form has been Boulaye Dia. The forward moved to La Liga from French side Reims back in the summer and he has contributed to eight league goals thus far. Dia won’t be available for Emery due to the fact that he is part of the Senegal team that will meet Egypt in the AFCON final at a very similar time. Villarreal also had Serge Aurier, Samu Chukwueze and Aissa Mandi representing their respective nations at the tournament but they have since returned. On the other hand, Real Betis have had no players competing at AFCON.
#TeamSenegal and Boulaye Dia have reached the #AFCON2021 final 👏. https://t.co/84r1rB2nLf
— Villarreal CF English (@VillarrealCFen) February 2, 2022
Both teams have a few key injuries: Betis will be without Claudio Bravo and Martin Montoya whilst Cristian Tello and Victor Camarasa remain doubtful. On the other side of the field, Villarreal have confirmed that Frenchman Francis Coquelin will definitely not feature plus young duo Juan Foyth and Yeremi Pino are expected to be touch and go.
There may be some big names absent, but Juanmi, Nabil Fekir and Gerard Moreno will all surely start and so it could quite easily be a typical La Liga goal-fest. That being said, both managers pride themselves on defensive stability. Either way, it promises to be a cracking game on Sunday afternoon.