After two weeks of rumors about the striker we might sign to cover for Rossi, everyone must be glad that real football action returns this week. The international break was fairly uneventful as Hernán Pérez played on a half of football, in Paraguay's loss against Chile.
Real Betis visits El Madrigal today. Real Betis returned to Primera after three years in the Segunda División. They started off the season in impressive fashion by reeling of four wins in their first four games. Coach Pepe Mel's team hasn't won ever since. Six straight defeats and a 0-0 draw against Málaga on the last match day broke that losing streak.
Villarreal on the other hand has kept the clean-sheet in the past two league games and a 2-0 win over Rayo Vallecano and a 0-0 draw at Cornella against Espanyol.
Two teams that have issues and both need points. Being just three points away from the drop-zone, this is a must-win game for the Yellow submarine considering that Betis aren't in their early season form.
Addtional intrigue or 'morbo' to this game is provided by the return of three ex-Submarinos Matilla, Jonatha Perreira who were sold and Jefferson Montero who is on loan with the Andalucian club.
Tactics & key match-ups
Pepe Mel has used a few different formations so far this season. Of late he has been using a 4-3-3 with their main goal-scorer Rubén Castro, Jorge Molina and the highly rated youngster Pozuelo up front supported by Beña Iriney and Cañas. Jefferson Montero has been mainly used as an impact sub off the bench. Matilla and Jonathan Pereira havent featured much so far.
Paraguayan striker Roque Santa Cruz returns to the squad after missing about a month due to injury. However it remains to be seen if Pepe Mel will start him and play a 4-4-2 pairing him up with Castro. I think it is unlikely.
The key players for Betis are Beñat, Pozuelo and Ruben Castro. Bruno will have his handsful to limit the impact of Beñat in the midfield. If Villarreal can win that battle, they have a better chance of winning.
The other key match-up is Castro & Pozuelo vs Villarreal fullbacks Mario & Catalá. We might see Catalá defend a lot this weekend because Pozuelo is a threat on Betis's right flank.
Villarreal recover Marcos Senna and have also called up Villarreal C striker and captain, Manu Trigueros. This is mainly to cover the absence of Gerard Bordas who is out injured for this game. I doubt he will see any playing time.
Coach Garrido has a couple of decisions to make as far as the line-up is concerned. The team has looked solid if unspectacular in the 4-2-3-1 formation. The team has sacrificed some of its attacking flair for some solidity overall witha 'safety-first' approach, mainly due to the non-availability of personnel. One of the keys to the success has been the emergence of Hernán Pérez on the right wing both in the attack and in the pressing game to recover the possession. Since Hernán had to endure the long flight journey from Santiago after the World qualifier against Chile, I wont be surprised if he started on the bench.
If Hernán starts on the bench, I doubt we will see the 4-2-3-1. Garrido experimented with Joan Oriol as the left-sided midfielder alongside De Guzman and Hernán (and Borja , Hernán in the 2nd half) against Espanyol. Oriol looked ok but generally he didn't seem to add much to the attack. I doubt he will repeat it.
I predict a 4-2-3-1 if Hernán starts, otherwise a 4-4-2 with Joselu paired with Marco Ruben up front. Personally I prefer the 4-4-2 but Hernán will see significant time in the 2nd half if he doesnt start.
Listen to Allen, Sid and Ravi breakdown this game
Villarreal XI 4-2-3-1
Diego Lopez ; Mario-Musacchio-Gonzalo-Catalá ; Bruno-Senna ; Hernán Pérez-Borja-De Guzman ; M. Ruben
Real Betis XI 4-3-3
Casto ; Isidoro-Ustariz-Dorado-Nacho ; Beñat-Iriney-Cañas ; Pozuelo-Molina/Santa Cruz - Castro
Villarreal needs points. This is a winnable game at home. Coach Garrido doesn't need to save anything for Tuesdays Champions League game at the Allianz Arena. This is the more important game by far.
Endavant Villarreal! Vamos Submarino