The La Liga title race is heating up quite interestingly between the top four teams as only six points separate top-placed Atletico and fourth-placed Sevilla. We are now at the end of a double gameweek of the La Liga Santander. Real Madrid welcomes Real Betis in an all-important clash at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Saturday night. It is a vital clash for the Madrid giants who can’t afford to drop points at this stage.
The Los Blancos will certainly aim to bag all the 3points from the game to stay in contention for the title. They are 3points adrift of league toppers Atletico and 1point above Barça who have a game in hand. On the other hand, Betis are placed 6th in the La Liga standings and are unbeaten in their last 5 matches. They will surely look to upset the Madrid giants and disrupt their bid for two back-to-back LaLiga crowns.
Why you should watch out for
There is absolutely no reason why you should not watch this crucial match in Spain’s top-flight title race. Real Madrid has been plagued by injuries all through this season and it has affected them a lot. There are a record 53 injuries that occurred to Madrid players in 20-21. It gives an opportunity to Betis to fancy their chances of upsetting the LaLiga giants with most of their key players unavailable.
Any slip up for Real now would further dent their chances of winning the Liga this season. So, they will try to pick up a home win against the Betis to keep their title-winning hopes alive. Also, Betis will no wonder put up a staunch resistance against them to usher a big setback for Madrid. In all, a very thrilling match is awaited between the two sides at the Di Stefano. The match to due to getting kicked off at 00:30 IST or 19:00 GMT.
The Los Blancos are coming onto this match on the back of a strong 3-0 away win against Cadiz. Karim Benzema scored two and assisted another for Alvaro Odriozola with all goals being scored in the first half itself. It was a quite comfortable win for Madrid after that embarrassing draw with Getafe. Benzema continued his sublime form for Real this season and he was the main man contributing to this win. Real were totally dominant in the game with almost 62% of the possession and 14 shots on target. Zidane made them to play in a new 3-4-3 formation which is quite unfamiliar to their usual 4-3-3 one. He was forced to do so on account of the unavailability of the midfielders needed to start the game. Madrid played quite well and this could give them the much needed confidence in their pursuit of winning against Betis.
Form: – WWDDW
The Heliopolitanos are playing this match after seeing off a 0-0 draw against lowly placed Athletic Club Bilbao. Their opponents were the ones who should have earned a win after performing so impressively. Bilbao, after losing two Copa Del Rey finals in the span of 14 days, mastered Betis in this game. They maintained 60% of the possession and shot 16 times towards the Betis goal. But the latter could manage only a meager 6 shots at the opposition’s goal.
Pellegrini would hope for a much better and improved show from his side in order to resist Madrid. He would take hearts from the fact that they have remained unbeaten in their last 5 matches. Their defense was notable against Athletic Club under the able leadership of Marc Bartra. Chilean Claudio Bravo also had a splendid match as he thwarted the strong Bilbao attack a number of times. It remains to be seen whether they can continue their unbeaten run against a quality Madrid side.
FORM: – WDDDD
Real Madrid has suffered unprecedented injuries in the 20-21 season and it continues to affect them even now. Their star captain and defender Sergio Ramos continues to remain on the sidelines. He is nursing a calf injury as well as the COVID-19 which recently occurred to him. Versatile winger Lucas Vazquez is ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a cruciate ligament injury.
Ferland Mendy will also not be available for this game owing to his soleus injury. Federico Valverde tested positive for COVID-19 of late and he is certain to miss the game. Toni Kroos has reported a slight injury in the adductor muscle of their left leg and he will not play against Betis. Zidane will be boosted by the return of Eden Hazard and Dani Carvajal into the side. The duo is on the team after a long injury layoff. Apart from the aforementioned ones, there are no known injury concerns in the team till now.
Daniel Carvajal is fit again and will most certainly start in the right-back position in place of Odriozola. The return of Luka Modric will accelerate the midfielder’s creativity. Kroos is resting which means Antonio Blanco will play again, who played excellently against Cadiz. Marco Asensio could be back in the right-wing position in place of Brazilian Rodrygo Goes. Other than these minor changes, the rest squad is expected to remain the same. Predicting Zidane’s lineup has been tough in recent years, and we hope he surprises us with his lineup.
The Seville-based club will not have much to ponder about the injuries before facing Real. But their standout man in midfield, Nabil Fekir will be missing this game after picking a red card against Bilbao. Reserve goalie Dani Martin and midfielder Victor Camarasa are sidelined also due to a knee and ACL injury respectively. Other than these three, Pellegrini will have a fit squad to choose his starting XI.
The absence of Nabil Fekir in the midfield paves the way for Andrea Guardado to start. Some changes in the forward line can be brought in by Pellegrini after a dismal performance against Bilbao. Joaquin and Diego Lainez can be hoped to start alongside Canales and Iglesias in the final third. There will be no such notable changes in the starting lineup as hoped.
Head to Head
Real Madrid and Betis have played out 40 contests between them so far La Liga. The former has a clear advantage with 23 wins out of these 40. Betis have managed to pull over a win 7 times against them. The other 10 matches have yielded no result and ended in a draw.
Players to watch out for
The Frenchman has been in swashbuckling form for the Los Blancos this season. With over 27 goals and 7 assists for Madrid, he is certainly the man to watch out for in any game. He is a fox in the box and is also crucial in creating chances for them. Zidane will hope for Benzema to come good again and provide them with the much needed goals upfront.
The Brazilian is certainly the mainstay of Real Madrid midfield. He is undoubtedly a quality player on the field with his fabulous passing and snatching the ball earning everyone’s attraction. He also has 6 goals and 4 assists in his kitty. In the absence of Kroos, he will be a vital cog in the midfield for Madrid.
The Spaniard has played exceptionally well for Betis in this 2020-21 season in the midfield. His creativity in the field is an invaluable gem for them. He has chipped in with 10 goals and 6 assists already. Canales will surely have to be on the top of his game to fancy their chances of winning the game.
Tello has been in sublime form for Betis oflate and has provided important contributions from the limited starts he got. He has 5 goals and 3 assists to his name this season. Along with Iglesias, he will be significant for the Betis in matter of scoring goals.
In all respects, this will be a quite entertaining contest on the pitch between the two sides in La Liga. Both sides will look to topple each other and earn them an advantageous position in the LaLiga standings. Madrid has to shrug off all off-field controversies regarding the Super League and have to concentrate solely on this match. They can’t think of anything other than picking up all three points from this fixture to maintain pace in the title race. But it’s not unknown that Betis on their day can upset big oppositions and Real shouldn’t take them lightly. They also will look to cement their place for the Europa League spot. Expect a fierce encounter to occur between these two teams.
For more such articles do click here