Copa Del Rey Winners Real Betis Host Barcelona in Huge La Liga Clash

Real Betis Barcelona

Barcelona’s Europa League exit at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt may be a huge blow, but their league position allows for some positivity. It would take a late collapse for Xavi’s men to miss out on the top four. One team determined to force their way into the coveted spots is Copa del Rey winners Real Betis. They currently sit fifth and are snapping at the heels of Atletico Madrid.

A win against the famous Barcelona on May 7 would be a huge step in the right direction for Betis.

Barcelona Need to Overcome Copa Del Rey Winners Real Betis

Plenty on the Line in Seville

As previously mentioned, Barcelona fell apart in their own backyard under the pressure applied by Frankfurt. The flying fullbacks Filip Kostic and Dortmund loanee Ansgar Knauff made all the difference, the former scoring a brace at the Nou Camp.

With just a few games left of this season, Barca’s attention can turn to La Liga. They are eight points clear of Betis and so are fairly secure in the top four. At the same time, no matter how low expectations were at the start of the campaign, being fifteen points behind their bitter rivals Real Madrid is the ultimate embarrassment.

Los Blancos could of course add yet another Champions League title to their impending league glory too.

Focusing on the two teams at hand though and Copa del Rey winners Real Betis sent the green half of Seville into meltdown after that famous success. The legendary Joaquin at the ripe old age of 40 was in tears after the final whistle as were many others, including Betis youth product Juan Miranda who just so happens to be on loan from Barcelona. He won’t be available to Manuel Pellegrini for this weekend’s clash.

Atleti are the team that could be caught with just three points separating them and Los Verdiblancos. Betis may have a tough task in the form of Barcelona, but Diego Simeone’s side have a Madrid derby against the champions-elect to worry about.

After that, they still have Real Sociedad and third-placed Sevilla to play with Betis visiting the Mestalla and the Bernabeu on their run. It is oh so close, plus Sevilla and La Real could still have a say on it all for better or for worse.

History Unsurprisingly Favours the Visitors

As is the case with most fixtures in La Liga, history favours Barcelona. In the Primera division, 68 of their 111 meetings have gone the way of the Blaugrana.

That being said, this clash is of course on Betis soil and they have impressed in front of their own fans in the past. Just over half, 29/54 to be exact, of the clashes with Betis at home have seen them get a result- 14 draws and 15 Betis wins.

In terms of recent fixtures and it was Copa del Rey winners Real Betis that prevailed in the reverse. Juanmi’s late strike was the difference at the Nou Camp as a then troubled Barcelona continued to struggle. On the contrary, the last four meetings at the Estadio Benito Villamarin have seen the away team come out on top. 5-0, 4-1, 3-2 and 3-2 have been the score lines. Last season’s 3-2 saw Lionel Messi find the back of the net and Barcelona win it late through Francisco Trincao.

The Difference Makers for Copa Del Rey Winners Real Betis

The post-Messi Barcelona is heavily trodden ground but the attacking unit under Xavi is certainly an intriguing proposition. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres and Adama Traore all arrived in January to mixed reactions from the Barca faithful. Beyond that trio, Memphis Depay has found himself in the periphery despite hitting the ground running for the icons of Spanish football. It is the Dutchman who leads the team for goals on eleven but Aubameyang is catching up on nine and counting.

Frenkie de Jong’s future is still up in the air but meanwhile, Pedri has been a shining light in the Barcelona midfield, even though all of the particularly rough times. The club will be glad that they are a lot less reliant now on such a young player but he is clearly going to the very top.

On the other hand, Copa del Rey winners Real Betis have a number of matchwinners in their ranks too. The aforementioned Juanmi tops the charts for Pellegrini with sixteen on the season. The mixture of contributions is something particularly impressive: Nabil Fekir, Willian Jose and Sergio Canales all delivering goals and assists too.

Frenchman Fekir is the standout with seventeen goal contributions- since his move to Liverpool fell through, he has been unplayable in Seville. As a big-game player, Fekir piercing Barcelona hearts would come as no surprise whatsoever.

Barcelona and Betis always seem to enjoy mouthwatering matches, for the neutral anyway. Both sides aren’t shy to attack and given Pellegrini’s Real Madrid links, he’ll be keen to get one over on their rivals.

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