Get out of here if you think that the Liga is already won. None of the opponents in the 5 remaining games will be pushovers. A win tonight will mean that Barça requires 2 points more to seal the championship, assuming that Madrid wins all their games.
Betis, Atlético Madrid, Valladolid, Espanyol and Málaga stand between the Blaugrana and La Copa de La Liga.
A. Madrid at home is always tense, and I fear for penalties, red cards and for our players’ lives with Diego Costa anywhere within 5 kilometers of them.
Valladolid took it to Real Madrid last night and nearly came away with the draw after playing very well and at pace.
In a Catalan derby anything can happen, and Espanyol usually arrives at Camp Nou determined to leave “la mierda de los pericos” all over it.
Málaga and Betis are still duking it out for a Europa League place. With one less game played, the Verdiblancos are 4 points behind Pellegrini’s team, so 3 points from tonight’s game would give them a lot of joy.
Barça needs a win tonight for 3 points and as a massive psychological boost before next week’s away game against A. Madrid.
The Last Game
Back in December 2012, Barça went to Betis’ Benito Villamarin Stadium and came away with a narrow 1-2 win in which Messi broke Gerd Müller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year.
Kxevin’s review from that game will give you an idea of how close it was, and some of the comments under the Match Preview will now sound like portents, given how the team’s performance has panned out in the latter half of the season.
Betis Away Results
The Verdiblancos haven’t been doing too badly on the road. With 7 wins and 23 points, they’re third equal with Real Sociedad, with only Barça (12 away wins) and Real Madrid (9 Away wins) sitting ahead of them.
What Betis is Bringing to Camp Nou
Pepe Mel. The team’s Manager plays hard ball. He is a thinker and a great strategist, and he successfully instils his tactics into his players. If the homeside scores and then sits back thinking that they’ve done enough (When have they ever done that?), Betis will punish them.
The players travelling to Camp Nou are: Adrián, Fabricio, Chica, Varela, Álex Martínez, Caro, Amaya, Mario, Rubén Pérez, Nosa, Salva Sevilla, Beñat, Vadillo, Campbell, Juan Carlos, Pabón, Jorge Molina and Rubén Castro.
Betis is without their Captain and #1 GK, Casto, who is out with a knee injury. Brazilian Defender, Paulão, damaged his Achilles Tendon, and DFs Perquis and Ángel & MF Nono are also missing.
Suspended players are Defender Nacho and Mid-fielder Cañas.
Key play-maker Beñat suffered from back problems earlier in the week but should be available.
Jorge Molina and Rubén Castro are always threats, as is on-loan Arsenal player Joel Campbell.
Arsenal and Betis appear to be strengthening their ties with an imminent “collaborative agreement” to be signed between the clubs which would see Arsenal lending more players to Betis in order to progress their skills and increase their playing time.
VV is out with an injured left foot. He appeared to be in some discomfort after hoofing the ball down the pitch to Alaba who sent it over to Robben for the 1st Camp Nou goal.
Pedro has been ruled out with a gastro infection.
Cesc is suspended with a Yellow card accumulation which, if my memory serves me accurately, has been partly acquired from bitching at too many officials.
Puyol and Mascherano remain in the sick bay.
Busquets and Abidal have been cleared to play, and Messi can play even with thigh problems because apparently he never received a medical red light so he doesn’t need a medical green light.
After publicly censuring Piqué for his comments after the Bayern Munich game, it remains to be seen if Tito will play him or whether he’ll be benched for “technical reasons”.
My team would be:
Alves Piqué Abidal Alba
Xavi Song Iniesta
Alexis Villa Tello
All going well and barring unexpected events, my subs would be Adriano for Abidal, Thiago for Xavi and Messi for Villa – the latter could work in reverse too.
Visca Barça – let’s do this!
The game kicks off at 21:00 CET on Sunday 5th May
Click here to convert the match time to your timezone: FC Barcelona vs. Real Betis Balompie