After a frustrating draw against Espanyol at El Madrigal, Villarreal travel to Seville to take on Real Betis at the Benito Villamarin. Pepe Mel's side are 3 points ahead of Villarreal and a home win would put them 6 points ahead of Villarreal, a great cushion to have at this time in the season. A win for Villarreal would put them level on points and Villarreal will move above Betis due to the head-to-head record. With a streaking Zaragoza breathing down the neck, the Submarine could find itself just 1 point off of relegation in the worse-case scenario.
5 - Betis got exactly the same # of points in the last 6 games as Villarreal.
5 - Betis have the same # of wins, losses and draws at home. Very strange record.
Real Betis play an expansive style of football and have played some great football against Real Madrid and Barcelona home & away but have nothing to show for because they don't look nearly as good at the back compared to how they play when they attack.Villarreal needs to attack the vulnerability of Betis at the back. A 2-striker formation would be ideal.
CB Zapata is out of Villarreal due to suspension (accumulation of yellow cards).
LB/CB Catalá is back in the squad after a 4+ month long injury lay-off
FW Nilmar is back in the squad after missing the Espanyol game due to a minor injury.
For Betis, both playmaker Beñat and top-scorer Ruben Castro who were doubtful, practiced today. They will have a late fitness test tomorrow but I expect them to play.
Betis attacks start with Beñat in the middle and then they are driven forward by wingers Jefferson Montero & Jonathan Pereira, the former is a loaned-groguet and the latter is an ex-groguet. The attacks culminate in crosses to Ruben Castro/J.Molina or the wingers cut-in sort of like our "interiores" and take a shot. Jefferson Montero takes a LOT of shots.(1 goal from 46).
Beñat is the key player for Betis in the midfield. Expect to see Bruno shadow him all game and try to keep his passing in check. Beñat is also a good free-kick taker and about 30% of Betis's goals (10) came from set-pieces
Keys to the game for Villarreal
- The fullbacks and the interiores will have their task cut-out against the quick Montero and Pereira. If they can slow the duo down, Betis will find it hard to create a lot of chances.
- Dont let Beñat run the game. If Bruno and Senna can limit his touches, Betis attack will lose a dimension.
- Attack is the best form of defence. An oft-used cliché, but it might be a good idea against a suspect defence. If Cani, Borja, Ruben and Nilmar need to have a stellar game and have to take their chances to come away with points in this game.
Casto; Nacho-Dorado-Paulao-Nelson; Montero-Beñat-Cañas-Pereira;Molina-Castro
Lopez; Oriol-Gonzalo-Musacchio-Mario; Bruno-Senna; Borja-Cani;Nilmar-Ruben
While this cant be called as a 'relegation 6-pointer' a loss could bring back more jitters to the yellow-faithful. I expect Lotina's men to get a result in this one.