Preview: Barcelona vs. Real Betis

Preview: Barcelona vs. Real Betis

Barcelona will be aiming to return to winning ways in La Liga when they continue their domestic campaign at home to top-four challengers Real Betis on Saturday night.

Xavi’s side suffered a 2-1 loss at Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday but are still 11 points clear of second-placed Real Madrid at the top of the table on the same number of matches (31), while Real Betis sit fifth, six points behind fourth-placed Real Sociedad in the race for a top-four spot.

Barcelona have had a real wobble in recent weeks, only winning one of their last five games in all competitions, picking up just five points from the last 12 available in Spain’s top flight.

However, Real Madrid are also having their domestic issues, so Xavi’s team remain in a commanding position at the top of the table, sitting 11 points clear of the reigning champions with seven games left.

Barcelona recorded a 1-0 win over an in-form Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon but were unable to build on that result, suffering a 2-1 loss to Rayo on Wednesday evening.

The Catalan outfit only have league football to focus on in the remaining weeks of the season following their exit to Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, and despite their disappointment in that competition and Europe, reclaiming the league title would be seen as a positive campaign.

Barcelona have the best home record in Spain’s top flight this season, picking up 39 points from 15 matches, and they will be welcoming a Real Betis outfit with the seventh-best away record, collecting 21 points from their 15 league fixtures on their travels in 2022-23.

Preview: Barcelona vs. Betis – prediction, team news, lineups

The visitors have also struggled for results in recent weeks, which has seriously harmed their top-four chances. Indeed, Manuel Pellegrini’s side have only been victorious in one of their last five in the league, suffering three defeats in the process to Atletico, Cadiz and Osasuna.

Real Betis held Real Sociedad to a goalless draw on Tuesday night, but it was a better result for the Basque outfit, who remain fourth in the table, six points ahead of Pellegrini’s team in fifth.

The Green and Whites now have two difficult away games against Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao before returning to home soil against Rayo Vallecano in the middle of next month.

Real Betis will need to find some consistency late in the season in order to stand a chance of claiming a top-four finish for the first time since 2005.

El Glorioso have lost their last two league games against Barcelona, including a 2-1 defeat in the reverse match earlier this season, but they won 1-0 at Camp Nou in the corresponding fixture last term.

Barcelona La Liga form:

Barcelona form (all competitions):

Real Betis La Liga form:

We say: Barcelona 2-1 Real Betis
Real Betis are more than capable of picking up a positive result on Saturday, but Barcelona will be determined to bounce back from their loss at Rayo. It would not be a surprise to see the points shared in this match, but we just have a feeling that Xavi’s side will navigate their way to a huge three points.

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