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Real Betis—Villarreal PREVIEW

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Javi Calleja’s men go for the double.

First training of Salem Al Dawsari and Javi Fuego with Villarreal team Photo by Maria Jose Segovia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Villarreal visit Real Betis on Saturday, looking to make it a fourth consecutive win against the Sevilla outfit. Javi Calleja has made the following team call:

Keepers:

  • 1. Sergio Asenjo, 25. Barbosa

Defenders:

  • 2. Mario Gaspar
  • 3. Álvaro
  • 6. Víctor Ruiz
  • 11. Jaume Costa
  • 22. Rukavina
  • 23. Bonera

Midfielders:

  • 7. Cheryshev
  • 8. P. Fornals
  • 10. S. Castillejo
  • 14. M. Trigueros
  • 16. Rodrigo
  • 19. Javi Fuego
  • 28. Raba

Strikers

  • 9. Bacca
  • 15. Enes Ünal
  • 24. R. Martínez

The noteworthy inclusion is Javi Fuego; otherwise the call is much as one would suspect. It should be noted Bruno Soriano is now listed in the injury list again, cited as ‘in process of re-adaptation’ after his surgery.

Our opponents: Real Betis are a treat to watch, as long as you like goals and don’t mind which team scores them. 79 goals have been scored in their 21 matches—only Real Sociedad (81) have more—but the problem for Betis is 44 of those 79 have been in their net. Already this season they’ve lost 6-3 at home to Valencia, lost 5-3 at home to Cadiz in the Copa, drawn 4-4 with Real Sociedad. But they’ve also won the Sevilla derby, beating Sevilla 5-3.

Quique Setien’s men are below the midpoint of the table (27 points) but they’ve played pretty well at home, taking 17 of 33 possible points. They’re going to have some issues in this one, though, because Joaquin is suspended and Tony Sanabria is out—as is Joel Campbell, ex-Villarreal loanee now at Betis on loan (again).

Betis is one of the better-supported teams in Spain; their motto is ‘Long live Betis even when they lose’, which is pretty damn good. It has to be said that holding the record for most promotions from the Segunda (which they do, the last coming in 2015) is a typically Betis achievement.

Villarreal : Morale has to be pretty good right now for the Yellow Submarine and apart from Alvaro Gonzalez, who has been recovering from a small injury, you’d think we’d go with our usual lineup: Bacca and Unal up front, midfield diamond with Trig, Casti, Rodri, Fornals, and Jaume Costa, Alvaro (or Bonera), Ruiz and Mario ahead of Sergio Asenjo.

Real Betis have not shut anyone out since the end of September, and I wouldn’t expect them to tomorrow.

Trivia: Betis have worn green and white since Glasgow Celtic donated a kit to them in the early 1920’s. There is also a connection with the only manager to lead Betis to the Primera title, Irishman Paddy O’Connell (1934-35 season).

Prediction: Betis 1-3 Villarreal. Long live Betis, even when...