Match Preview: Real Madrid vs Real Betis
With the wind in their sails once again, Real will be favourites at the Di Stéfano tonight. The Champions were weakened at Getafe and could only manage a goalless draw after a blunt performance. They hit back with a rampant 3—0 win at Cádiz and now are back at Valdebebas to face their third game in 10 days. A win will put the pressure right back on Barcelona and Atlético Madrid, both of whom have very complicated fixtures tomorrow. Anything but that, would further dent the Merengues’ hopes of a double.
What to expect
Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis side are more than anything, inconsistent. They won consecutive games versus Villarreal, Getafe, Cádiz and Deportivo Alaves followed by a 1—0 defeat at Sevilla last month which broke their momentum. Since, a 2—0 victory over Levante on the 19th of March is the only time they’ve won. Los Verdiblancos drew games against Elche, Atleti, Valencia and most recently Athletic Bilbao.
Real Madrid enter this game with optimum confidence and a squad that looks good enough again. Having beaten Cádiz in midweek, Zinedine Zidane can expect his side to maintain the intensity from that first half if not top it. It isn’t just intensity that dismantles sides like Betis though. The need for intelligent decision making is huge — being wasteful was a general theme of our losses against them in the past. Afterall, the team Zidane has lost the most times to as the manager of Real Madrid is Real Betis.
Expect us to dominate, but we need to be practical about just how much we ought to risk. If not, Betis might benefit off our sloppiness and are more than capable of countering.
Nabil Fekir is suspended for the game and Cristian Tello appears to be injured. However, with the likes of Borja Iglesias, Joaquín and Sergio Canales they still have reliable players in attack.
Real Madrid will be without the services of the captain, while Toni Kroos and Fede Valverde are out too. Lucas Vazquez’s season is over and Ferland Mendy still hopes to be in contention to play the first leg against Chelsea. I expect Dani Carvajal back in the XI, with or without a back four. Luka Modrić should be back too and to spice things up, Eden Hazard is likely to make an appearance off the bench.
Carvajal — Militão — Varane — Nacho — Marcelo
Modrić — Casemiro
Asensio — Benzema — Vinicius
Emerson — Mandi — Ruiz — Moreno
Guardado — Rodríguez
Lainez — Canales — Joaquín
Players to Watch
Real Madrid: Karim Benzema.
Real Betis: Sergio Canales.
Real Madrid 3-1 Real Betis
It just seems to be going too well for the hosts at the moment, unbeaten in 16 games. The Verdiblancos themselves aren’t doing that poorly, but have struggled to get results against sides of our magnitude throughout the season. I predict that their immaculate ability on set-pieces will see them find a goal, but our quality in defence, midfield and offence will see us come out victorious.