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Betis x Villarreal: Can the Submarine stay undefeated one more week?

Jony and Aquino. Speed demons.
Jony and Aquino. Speed demons.
David Ramos

I highly doubt it. When I looked at the season schedule before the season began, I had circled this game as our second potential loss after the Real Madrid game. As it stands, we have more than held our own against Real Madrid and go into Benito Villamarin as one of the three teams in La Liga yet to be beaten.

The Opponent

Real Betis is a fun team to watch and have grown a lot under Pepe Mel since he took them over in 2010. They ran Real Madrid very close in the season opener at Bernabeu losing very late 4-3. Though their results have been sub-par and inconsistent so far, one thing that has been constant is their prowess take the initiative, keep the ball and attack.

They take 14.7 shots/game 4th in the league compared to Villarreal 13.2 shots/game 6th in the league. Apart from that no other stat particular pops out. Their attack is very leftsided ( with Vadillo (or Cedrick) and Nacho. Mario and Aquino can expect a busy day on their side. Salva Sevilla is an underrated player and has started well for Sevilla this season. Joan Verdù Ex-Espanyol, who we were linked to a few times in the past is the creative mind behind this attack along with Salva Sevilla. Our canterano Javier Matilla also had a great start to the season as the defensive pivot of Betis.

Villarreal and rotations

We have seen the first few rotations in the game vs. Espanyol and with the precautionary move to rest Jaume Costa, we could see Bojan Jokic start his first game for Villarreal. Gabriel Paulista could see a few minutes if we continue with the rotations. I wont be surprised if Cani and/or Giovani Dos Santos arent in the starting line-up.

Compared to Espanyol, Betis is probably at the other end of the spectrum in terms of style of play. Betis has a more patient build-up and will keep the possession a lot more. They do have speed on the wings, especially if Cedrick is on the pitch. This in theory is a good match-up for how Villarreal plays. Lots of fast-break opportunities for the Submarine.


Likely XIs

Real Betis 4-2-3-1

Sara; Nacho-Amaya-Paulão-Javi Chica; Xavi Torres - Javi Matilla; Vadillo-Sevilla-Verdù;Molina

Villarreal 4-4-2

Asenjo; Jokic-Musacchio-Dorado-Mario;Cani-Bruno-Trigueros-Aquino;Pereira-Perbet

Final thoughts

On paper this is a winnable game. Real Betis is likely very desperate after they have only 6 points from 6 matches to show for so far. They are definitely better than where they are in the table at the moment. I expect them to come all out from minute 0. If we can weather the initial storm without conceding, we could find a lot of space and joy against Betis. I'd be more than happy with a draw in this one. Irrespective of the result of this game, we will finish 11 points clear of relegation zone after 7 weeks. Endavant Villarreal!