Preview: Real Betis vs. Valencia

Preview: Real Betis vs. Valencia

Both Real Betis and Valencia will be targeting three points in the pursuit of European football when the pair meet at the Estadio Benito Villamarin on Wednesday evening.

Betis currently occupy one of the six European spots on offer, whilst Valencia have some work to do if they wish to climb up the La Liga table.

There has been little to separate both Betis and Valencia over the past few seasons, with neither side able to register back-to-back victories in any of the previous eight meetings.

Valencia were the last team to notch consecutive wins in this fixture, triumphing during both clashes of the 2017-18 campaign, but that remains the only occasion it has happened since November 2008.

However, it is in fact Betis who have the current upper hand in this tie, having gone unbeaten in the previous two meetings, and they will secure their longest streak without losing against Valencia since 2016, should they avoid defeat on Wednesday.

It is likely Manuel Pellegrini will enter the match confident of his side earning a result, as they have picked up from where they left off last season and started the campaign in fine form.

Losing just two of their nine La Liga matches so far, Betis are sitting pretty in fifth and could make the leap into the Champions League spots, should other results go their way.

A lengthy 15 years have passed since the Andalusian club last competed in Europe’s premier competition, with a return to the Champions League not an unthinkable target for a well-drilled Betis side.

Pellegrini has vast experience taking mid-table Spanish sides deep into the Champions League, having reached the semi-finals during both his Villarreal and Malaga reigns.

Whilst that remains the dream, the former Manchester City boss will have some of his attention fixed on Betis’ current European campaign, where Los Verdiblancos are well positioned to qualify for their second Europa League knockouts in four seasons.

Second in the table after three matches and yet to be beaten, Betis could secure qualification when they travel to face Bayer Leverkusen in a week’s time.

First however is the small task of Valencia, who may have missed the boat for Champions League qualification, but could still compete for a spot in the other two continental competitions.

Floating around mid-table, Jose Bordalas’s side have failed to build on their own positive start to the campaign and will travel South in the midst of a turbulent run of form.

Three wins from their first four were followed up by a six-game winless streak, including a trio of defeats in five matches.

Valencia did do remarkably well to come from 2-0 down heading into added time against Mallorca last time out, only to snatch a point with late goals from Goncalo Guedes and Jose Gaya.

Bouncing back will not be easy against an in-form Betis side, and Valencia will be keen to pick up three points in an attempt to get their season back on track.

Real Betis La Liga form:
Real Betis form (all competitions):
Valencia La Liga form:

We say: Real Betis 2-1 Valencia
Betis are in the midst of some of their best form in decades and a return to the Champions League is not yet out of the question.

It is games against the teams just below them that will determine their fate and with the support of the Benito Villamarin behind them, another victory could be on the cards.

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