5 points clear at the top of the table, FC Barcelona next face Real Betis in La Liga Santander as an opportunity to further extend their lead at the pinnacle of the league standings.
Barcelona vs Real Betis: Match Details
Date: Wednesday, 1st February 2023
Competition: La Liga Santander
Venue: Benito Villamarín
Time: 09:00 pm Central European Time
Referee: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea
Barcelona vs Real Betis: Match Overview
FC Barcelona forge onwards on their journey towards the La Liga title that has evaded them since 2019. Currently sitting atop the league table with 47 points from their 18 matches and a 5-point advantage over second-placed Real Madrid.
They now face 6th-placed Real Betis in their 19th game of the 2022/2023 La Liga season in what is surely to be an enticing fixture. Led by the acclaimed Manuel Pellegrini himself, Real Betis have been a formidably tough opponent this season, managing to make life difficult for all those teams that have had the misfortune of playing them. Possessing the likes of Nabil Fekir, Borja Iglesias, and Sergio Canales amongst other talented players, they are always a tough hurdle to overcome.
Having already faced each other in the Super Cup semi-final this season, the game in question ended with La Blaugrana coming out as the victors on penalties thanks to a massively clutch Ter Stegen performance. Judging this upcoming game based on their prior encounter, it is safe to assume Barcelona are in for a matchup that will potentially test their mettle to the extreme.
On the topic of recent form, FC Barcelona have maintained a near-perfect essence in terms of consistency. With 4 wins and 1 draw out of their last 5 games, the Catalans are forging through in full swing towards their goal of the La Liga Santander title.
Their opponents however have not been the most fortunate in terms of form. 2 wins, 2 losses, and a draw were the outcomes of their last 5 games, showcasing a great lack of possible consistency themselves. Regardless, Barcelona will have to be willing to play this game with everything on the line for them to be able to muster a much-needed victory from this clash.
Barcelona vs Real Betis: Potential Line-up
Goalkeeper: Marc Andre Ter-Stegen
The German international continues his superb form for FC Barcelona. On track to win potentially his first Zamora trophy, his clean sheets and save percentages have been off the charts this season.
Left-back: Alejandro Balde
The electric full-back will be Xavi’s first choice to start in a game against such high level opposition. Rested for a majority of the game against Girona, it is expected that he is amongst those to start against Betis come Wednesday.
Centre-back: Ronald Araujo
Rock solid as always against Girona as well, Ronald Araujo will remain the central pillar of Xavi’s Catalan warriors heading into this difficult clash against Real Betis on Wednesday.
Centre-back: Andreas Christensen
Another crucial piece of Xavi’s defensive line, the Danish international was rested as well against Girona and should find his way right back into the starting eleven that will face Real Betis. His composure and technical prowess over the ball will be key for the Catalans in this game.
Right-back: Jules Kounde
Deployed at right back against Girona as well, Jules Kounde will be accompanied by his most trusted acquaintances in defense this time around. With Barcelona’s main backline all expected to start, the Frenchman will potentially be able to play with much more freedom and confidence than last time around.
CDM: Sergio Busquets
The Spanish veteran is finding his best form again in this new system that Xavi has deployed utilizing 4 midfielders, and it is thanks to this return of form for the Spaniard that Barcelona has rekindled their ability to play as fluidly as they have at times this season.
The match-winner against Girona last time around, Pedri is now an established figure for Barcelona. Having played 100 games for the Catalan giants already, the youngster continues to showcase just how much his maturity and quality are dissociated to his young age with his near-century of quality performances.
CM: Frenkie De Jong
The Dutch maestro may not always be applauded for his role in Xavi’s new square-like midfield system due to the lack of flashiness that his instructions play out, but he remains fundamental for Barcelona to succeed as they do. His positional awareness, absolute calm on the ball, and quick thinking are just some of the traits that make him such an ideal midfielder.
As has been reported over the last week, Gavi is apparently Xavi’s first choice to fill in the starting space at the left-hand side of the forward line. A position he’s played in before, it will be interesting to see what system Xavi deploys to use him effectively, however.
Centre-forward: Robert Lewandowski
At long last, Robert Lewandowski makes his return from his league suspension. The Pole’s deadly finishing and presence in front of the goal were sorely missed by the Blaugrana. His availability offers a huge surge of confidence to Xavi’s team.
With Ousmane Dembele out injured for the subsequent month or so, Raphinha will finally get a proper chance to prove his worth on the basis of what he was brought in to do. The Brazilian will not find a better opportunity to showcase his ability to the Blaugrana faithful.
Barcelona vs Real Betis: Expected Line-up
Goalkeeper: Ter Stegen
Defenders: Balde, Christensen, Araujo, Kounde
Midfielders: Pedri, Busquets, De Jong
Forwards: Gavi, Lewandowski, Raphinha