Preview: Elche vs. Real Betis
Real Betis will be bidding to make it three straight La Liga victories when they continue their campaign away to the league’s bottom side Elche on Friday night.
The visitors will enter the contest off the back of a 2-1 win over Real Valladolid, while Elche suffered a 1-0 home loss to Espanyol last time out, which left them on nine points in the table from 22 matches.
Elche recorded their first victory of the 2022-23 La Liga campaign on February 4, running out 3-1 winners over Villarreal, but they have been unable to build on that success over the Yellow Submarine.
Indeed, Pablo Machin’s side have lost their last two matches against Real Madrid and Espanyol, with the results leaving them rooted to the bottom of the division on nine points.
Elche are some 13 points behind 17th-placed Almeria, so it is going to take some effort to escape the relegation zone considering that they have only taken nine points from 22 games in 2022-23.
The Green-striped ones have finished 17th and 13th in their last two La Liga campaigns but appear destined to return to the Segunda Division for the first time since 2020.
Elche, unsurprisingly, have the worst home record in La Liga this season, only picking up six points from 11 matches, and they will be welcoming a Real Betis outfit that have collected 17 points from 11 games on their travels.
Real Betis started February with back-to-back league defeats to Barcelona and Celta Vigo, but they have been victorious in their last two La Liga fixtures against Almeria and Real Valladolid.
Sergio Canales netted the winner against Real Valladolid last time out, with the result moving the Green and Whites onto 37 points from their 22 matches, which has left them in fifth position.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are only four points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid, while they are five points ahead of seventh-placed Athletic Bilbao, leaving them in a strong position at this stage of the season.
Real Betis have not finished in La Liga’s top four since 2004-05, but they have been sixth and fifth in their last two campaigns at this level.
Los Verderones, who will welcome Real Madrid in their first game in March, recorded a 3-0 victory when the two teams locked horns earlier this season, but Elche have enjoyed a recent win over the Seville outfit, triumphing 1-0 in April 2022 courtesy of a late goal from Tete Morente.
Elche La Liga form:
Real Betis La Liga form:
We say: Elche 1-2 Real Betis
Real Betis cannot afford to drop points in these type of matches if they are to be serious challengers for the top four this season, and while we are expecting a close game, the visitors should have enough quality to navigate their way to an important three points.