The next edition of Derbi sevillano will be a clash between one of the worst hosts in La Liga and one of the worst visitors, so no doubts that both Real Betis and Sevilla will have a point to prove in Saturday’s clash at Benito Villamarin that will also decide who earns the bragging rights in Andlucia.
Real Betis had served a bad surprise for the club faithful when they were relegated to Segunda, but at least they made up for it with a straight return to the elite division. Los Verdiblancos then did well to recruit some high-profile players to their ranks, including Rafa van der Vaart, Juan Manuel Vargas and Heiko Westerman, but it was the return of prodigal son Joaquin Sanchez that brought the air of confidence to Estadio Benito Villamarin. And while some of the other summer recruits have struggled to make an impact, the former Fiorentina winger has been in fine form ever since he returned to the club, even if his solid showings not always proved sufficient to ensure a positive result. Oddly enough, Real Betis have been quite impressive on the road, recording back to back away wins either side of the 1-1 stalemate with Granada, although the impressive run came to an end as they lost to Las Palmas. But, it is the disappointing home form that is the main cause for concern ahead of the Sevilla derby, with just one point from last five matches at Benito Villamarin clearly a very disappointing result.
Star player Joaquin Sanchez has missed some training through a thigh problem, but he has since made it clear that he will be on the pitch against Sevilla.
Full-back Cristiano Piccini is also rated doubtful, but Alfred N’Diaye, Vincenzo Rennella and Didier Digard are definitely out injured.
Back to back Europa League titles are enough to suggest that Sevilla are slowly becoming genuine European powerhouse, and the team also managed to show some potential during their first Champions League campaign after five years. But, home wins over Borussia M’gladbach and Juventus did not prove sufficient to progress from the group of death, although the good news is that los Rojiblancos now have a chance to make it three EL trophies in a row. And after the European campaign prevented the team from giving their best in La Liga, Unai Emery’s men will also want to improve their league position. Shocking defensive record is the main reason why Sevilla sit six points behind top 4 positions, and they remain one of just three sides not to have won an away game this season. On the other hand, los Rojiblancos have impressed at their Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan of late and maybe three successive wins will provide just the boost they need to rediscover their away form in the best possible time.
Unai Emery welcomes back Vicente Iborra from suspension, but he will probably remain on the bench, with Michael Krohn-Dehli and Grzegorz Krychowiak set to start in the middle of the park.
Nicolas Pareja, Marco Andreolli and Beto are not yet ready to return, whereas Fernando Llorente should be preferred to Kevin Gameiro up front.
Key Factors to Consider
- A total of 23 goals were scored in last six meetings between the two sides
- Sevilla have yet to record a league win on the road this term
- Real Betis are winless in last five home games in La Liga (D1 L4)
- Both teams have scored in four of those five matches
- Sevilla scored at least one goal in six of last seven away fixtures
Chances are we will witness a nervy affair at Estadio Benito Villamarin, but with Real Betis desperate to end a poor home run and Sevilla just as motivated to record the first away triumph, goals could be on the cards when Andalucia’s leading sides square off on Saturday evening.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 4/7