Barcelona host Real Betis at the Nou Camp in La Liga. Neither side has been at their best in the league this season. The game should provide a lot of entertainment as there is a lot of quality in both squads.
Date and kick-off time: Saturday 7 November 2020, 16:15 CET
Stadium: Camp Nou
Competition: La Liga, Matchday 9
Referee: Guillermo Cuadra
Barcelona have faced a busy schedule over the last month with UEFA Champions League games being played midweek and La Liga at the weekends. Against Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday night, the Spanish giants showed they have a lot of quality, but also looked like a team that was tired.
However, manager Ronald Koeman will have to find the balance between rotations and playing his strongest side as this is a must-win game for Barça. In the last four matches in La Liga, the Catalan side have only managed to win two points out of a possible twelve. Anything but three points on Saturday will ring alarm bells in Catalonia going into the international break.
Real Betis come into this fixture not on the best run of form either. They sit above Barcelona in the league table in 7th but have played two games more times than the Blaugrana. From their eight games in the league, the Andalusian side have won four and lost four matches.
Ansu Fati will hope to continue his goal-scoring exploits in La Liga. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)
They do possess some talented players, especially in midfield and attack, but it is their leaky defence that the hosts should target. The away side have conceded 12 goals this season — the joint fifth-worst defence in the league.
The two teams share several players that have played for both clubs. Martin Montoya, Marc Bartra, Claudio Bravo, Juan Miranda, Cristian Tello and Junior Firpo have all played for both teams at some stage. The game was also given extra incentive as Real Betis player Joaquin blasted Koeman in the media from their time at Valencia together.
What to expect from Barcelona?
Ronald Koeman was clearly frustrated by his team’s performance midweek. He was unhappy with the movement and their poor finishing. It has been reported that he has stressed to his players that this is the first final of the season to try and inspire them to raise their standards. The club needs a win going into the international break to get their league campaign back on track.
It will be interesting to see if Koeman will shuffle the starting 11 around as some players struggle with form. The manager has clearly tried to implement a regular starting line-up but is yet to find the right balance. While the team has generally improved their performances from previous seasons, they still miss that spark.
Lionel Messi will be essential for the Catalan side, as always, and will be looking to score from open play for the first time this season.
We can expect to see these two men together tomorrow; one in the midfield and one at right-back. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)
Not being able to take chances has been the biggest issue for the players so far. The build-up has been considerably more intricate, especially creating goal-scoring opportunities, but the lack of a natural number 9 is definitely hurting the team. The manager has stressed how important it is to take these chances, so hopefully, the squad responds and a more clinical Barça is on show.
What to expect from Real Betis?
Real Betis have been an inconsistent team in recent seasons. At times, they have played wonderful football but not managed to get the results they should. This season has been similar with four wins, and four loses. The away side have undeniable quality, but they sometimes lack that clinical edge to go with their entertaining football.
Last season, Los Verdiblancos had a poor league campaign, finishing 15th. Now, under new veteran manager Manuel Pellegrini, they will be looking to finish much higher up. Though they have somewhat struggled in La Liga, especially against teams in the top half of the table, they are still a threat.
Former Barcelona player, Cristian Tello, will be looking to cause his boyhood club problems as he arrives back at the Camp Now. The winger is having an impressive season as he is currently the joint second-highest scorer in La Liga. The midfield for Real Betis is also solid, notably Guido Rodriguez, Sergio Canales and William Carvalho. These three can cause the home side problems when they get the ball in space.
Tello will be keen to prove Barcelona wrong. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)
Previous games: WDWLW
Barcelona 2-1 Dynamo Kyiv | UEFA Champions League
Deportivo Alavés 1-1 Barcelona | La Liga
Juventus 0-2 Barcelona | UEFA Champions League
Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid | La Liga
Barcelona 5-1 Ferencváros | UEFA Champions League
Position in La Liga
8 points in 6 games
2 wins 2 draws and 2 loses
10 Goals Scored, 6 Goals Conceded
+4 Goal Difference
Previous games: WLLWL
Real Betis 3-1 Elche | La Liga
Atlético Madrid 2-0 Real Betis | La Liga
Real Betis 0-3 Real Sociedad | La Liga
Valencia 0-2 Real Betis | La Liga
Getafe 3-0 Real Betis | La Liga
Position in La Liga
12 points in 8 games
4 wins 4 loses
10 Goals Scored, 12 Goals Conceded
-2 Goal Difference
Real Betis 2-3 Barcelona | La Liga 19/20
Barcelona 5-2 Real Betis | La Liga 19/20
Real Betis 1-4 Barcelona | La Liga 18/19
Barcelona 3-4 Real Betis | La Liga 18/19
Real Betis 0-5 Barcelona | La Liga 17/18
- Barcelona have not won a game in La Liga for over a month.
- The two teams have faced each other on 46 occasions with Barcelona winning 28 matches and Real Betis winning 9 times.
- Barcelona have not kept a clean sheet against Betis in over two years, the last one coming in January 2018, in a 5-0 win.
Injured: Samuel Umtiti (knee), Philippe Coutinho (Hamsting), Ronald Araujo (muscle injury)
Dest • Piqué • Lenglet • Alba
Pjanić • de Jong
Dembélé • Messi • Fati
Coach: Ronald Koeman
Injured: Victor Camarasa, Francis, Dani Martin, Nabil Fekir
Doubtful: Juanmi, Andres Guardado
Emerson • Bartra • Mandi • Moreno
Carvalho • Rodriguez • Canales
Tello • Sanabria • Joaquin
Coach: Manuel Pellegrini
Both teams will be desperate for a win on Saturday. The favourites are Barcelona, as history suggests. The Catalan side will likely be eager to impress after a lacklustre performance midweek. However, the freshness of the Real Betis side, who have only had to focus on La Liga, could be a factor. The game will not be straightforward for the hosts as their opponents do have a strong squad on paper.
Barça Universal Prediction: 3-1 win for the hosts.
Barcelona vs Osasuna: Match Preview
Barcelona return to their cramped position in La Liga after a comfortable outing in the Champions League. The Catalans turn hosts this time around as they try to get back to winning ways in the league against Osasuna.
Date and kick-off time: Sunday 29 November 2020, 14:00 CET
Stadium: Camp Nou
Competition: La Liga, Matchday 11
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz
Barcelona are in a precarious state in their campaign this term. The Catalans have more points, more wins and a better goal difference in the Champions League than they have in La Liga. Worst possible start to the season in decades, with injuries piling up amid a congested fixture list, Ronald Koeman and the players have a lot to figure out. But, first, they have to get back to winning ways in the league.
Osasuna visit the Camp Nou with memories of their last contest, confirming Real Madrid’s title last season with a 1-2 win. The visitors are on the same points as Barça, albeit playing an extra game. Their recent form has been a worry as they have only one win in their last five games much similar to the Blaugranas.
Barcelona’s memories against Osasuna are not pleasant. (Photo via Imago)
While Los Rojillos do not have the fixture congestion as the hosts, they have mirrored their injury problems and long time absences. Chimy Avila, Brandon, David García, Adrián López are injured and out of the clash. Jonathan Calleri, Aridane Hernández, Juan Pérez, Lucas Torró are doubtful for the game.
Barça’s injury list has dented the team significantly. While Ansu Fati, Gerard Piqué and Sergi Roberto remain sidelined for months, there has been some improvement for the others. Both Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo have started the group training but will be a couple of weeks before they are match fit.
“Dest had some discomfort in his leg, but it is not a serious matter because he trained well today. If he is not well tomorrow, we will play someone else. We will not risk injuries.”Ronald Koeman | Pre-game Presser
Sergio Busquets is given the medical green light for this clash after recovering from a knock in International duty. Despite initial reports of an injury, Sergino Dest has made the squad list after having trained with the group before the game.
What to expect from Barcelona?
Ronald Koeman decided to field a second-string eleven against Dynamo Kyiv and rested his most-played players. Both Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi got a well-deserved rest after playing almost all games this season. So, both players will be fit and raring to go this weekend in La Liga. With the return of Coutinho, the front four seems to take shape in the absence of Ansu Fati.
“Hopefully tomorrow Messi and De Jong can offer their best because we need them.”Ronald Koeman | Pre-Game Presser
While there are options aplenty in the attack, the defence still seems shaky and not enough for top La Liga sides. Óscar Mingueza could continue to partner Clément Lenglet after impressing midweek. If Dest is not fit enough to start either Mingueza or de Jong will fit in at right-back. Carles Aleñá could get another run in the pivot with Miralem Pjanić if de Jong fills in at defence. Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba would be the only two regular starters in the backline.
Personnel issues aside, Barcelona have struggled tactically this season. While they breezed past Dynamo Kyiv in the previous game, they still provided the opponent with plenty of easy chances. The erratic pressing and loss of intensity after some point results in the opposition carving open the Barça defence with as little as a one-two pass. The manager should work on these and make sure the pressing works against tactically drilled La Liga sides.
What to expect from Osasuna?
Jagoba Arrasate’s Osasuna have been excellent in the top flight since getting promoted. After finishing an impressive 10th place last time, they are in the bottom half of the table this season, just below Barcelona. Injuries to crucial players have dented their fortunes this season, and their recent form is not helping the team.
When the last time the two sides met, the visitors won with only 20% possession, had more shots on target and scored a goal while a man down. Arrasate understandably would go with the same approach this time around as well. Whether the formation is 3-5-2 or 4-4-2, Osasuna will pack the middle to restrict the Blaugranas from breaking lines and going through the centre.
With a lack of possession and territory, Osasuna will look to go long moving the ball direct while counter-attacking. The visitors being aerially dominant, will often look to cross into the box. They do take a lot of shots confidently but are often prone to miss big chances. In this particular match, Osasuna’s game plan would work with ease if they hold their shape well in defence and successfully get into scoring positions.
Player to watch
Budimir has scored one of the only two goals Atletico Madrid have conceded this season. (Photo via Imago)
Osasuna have a lot of tall players ready to nod the crosses they put in. Ante Budimir is among the tallest of the lot, standing tall at 6’2″. The Croatian has played their last three games scoring one goal against Atletico Madrid past Jan Oblak. He is not afraid to take shots as he leads the team in shots per game.
One of the main reasons for his threat is the lack of height in the Barça defence. With Gerard Piqué out, the aerial presence at the back is severely low, and the Croat could take advantage of the situation.
Previous games: WLWWD
Dynamo Kyiv 0–4 Barcelona | UEFA Champions League
Atletico Madrid 1–0 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 5–2 Real Betis | La Liga
Barcelona 2–1 Dynamo Kyiv | UEFA Champions League
Deportivo Alavés 1–1 Barcelona | La Liga
Position in La Liga
11 points in 8 games
3 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses
15 Goals Scored, 9 Goals Conceded
+6 Goal Difference
Previous games: DLLWD
Osasuna 1–1 Huesca | La Liga
Sevilla 1–0 Osasuna | La Liga
Osasuna 1–3 Atlético Madrid | La Liga
Osasuna 1–0 Athletic Bilbao | La Liga
Eibar 0–0 Osasuna | La Liga
Position in La Liga
11 points in 9 games
3 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses
8 Goals Scored, 9 Goals Conceded
-1 Goal Difference
Barcelona 1–2 Osasuna | La Liga 19/20
Osasuna 2–2 Barcelona | La Liga 19/20
Barcelona 7–1 Osasuna| La Liga 16/17
Osasuna 0–3 Barcelona | La Liga 16/17
Barcelona 7–0 Osasuna| La Liga 13/14
- Barcelona are undefeated in 33 of their last 35 home matches (LaLiga).
- Osasuna have failed to score in their last 3 away matches (LaLiga).
- There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 8 of Osasuna’s last 10 away games (LaLiga).
- Osasuna were unbeaten against Barcelona last season.
Injured: Samuel Umtiti (knee), Gerard Pique (knee), Ansu Fati (knee), Sergi Roberto (hamstring), Ronald Araujo
Marc-André ter Stegen
Dest · Mingueza · Lenglet · Alba
Pjanic · de Jong
Dembele · Messi · Coutinho
Coach: Ronald Koeman
“If we maintain our rhythm with the ball, we will be very good. Sometimes we suddenly relax. The team needs to keep a constant level of intensity.”Ronald Koeman | Pre-Game Presser
Injured: Chimy Avila, Brandon, David García, Adrián López, Jonathan Calleri, Aridane Hernández, Juan Pérez, Lucas Torró
Roncaglia · David García · Raúl Navas
Nacho Vidal · Moncayola · Sanjurjo · Inigo Pérez · Jony
Budimir · Garcia
Coach: Jagoba Arrasate
Barcelona have been wayward in La Liga this season. They have performed against teams which like possession, but have struggled hard against low and medium blocks. Barça despite, having the ball, have been highly inefficient, moving it slow unable to break down the opponents. It would continue against Osasuna unless Ronald Koeman decides to do things differently.
Barça Universal prediction: 2–1 win for the Catalans