Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Prediction: Celtic vs Real Betis

Verdict: Over 1.5 goals in the first-half

Best Odds: 11/8

Bookmaker: Unibet

Simply looking to end their Europa League adventure with a flurry on Thursday night, Celtic will welcome a high-flying Real Betis to Glasgow.

Celtic

Starting with the hosts, while Celtic might know that they cannot book their spot in the knockout stage of this year’s Europa League, the Scottish giants will take some solace from their recent boost. Left heartbroken out in Germany a fortnight ago as they suffered that dramatic 3-2 defeat against Bayer Leverkusen, the Hoops did pick up some perfect momentum over the weekend. Storming their way to a routine 3-0 romp away at Dundee United, Head Coach Ange Postecoglou has been filled with praise for his side’s recent displays. While they might have initially struggled to find their feet under the former Melbourne Victory boss, Celtic have lost just one of their last 13 straight matchups from across all competitions, a run that stems back to the end of September. Winning 11 of those 13 contests, Thursday’s hosts have also found some welcomed stability on home soil. Collecting 16 points from their previous six fixtures on Glasgow, Postecoglou’s side will simply be looking to end their Europa League run with a flurry before they drop down to the inaugural Conference League.

Team News

Central defender Cameron Carter-Vickers will miss out on Thursday night as he serves a suspension here.

Christopher Jullien and Karamoko Dembele remain long-term absentees and will also be missing in Glasgow.

Real Betis

As for the visitors, only laying down what was another marker over the weekend, Real Betis have really continued to shock many across Europe since opening the 2021/22 campaign. Handing Xavi his first defeat since taking charge at Barcelona as they snatched a late 1-0 win at the Nou Camp, Manuel Pellegrini’s men have also wrapped up their spot in the knockout stage of this year’s tournament with time to spare. Enjoying an impressive resurge since bringing in the former West Ham boss last year, the Greens have really put their October wobble behind them. Now winning each of their last five matchups across all formats, Betis will also be boosted by their remarkable last meeting against Thursday’s opponents. In what was a thrilling affair at the Estadio Benito Villamarín back in September, Pellegrini’s side eventually claimed a 4-3 win after coming from two goals down. With their sights set on clinching a top-four finish in the La Liga standings this season, Los Verdiblancos will be looking to keep up their momentum here.

Team News

After serving a one-match suspension, playmaker Nabil Fekir could be set to make his return to Glasgow on Thursday night.

However, with keeper Claudio Bravo set to miss out, there are also question marks over both Martin Montoya and midfielder Victor Camarasa.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When the two sides faced off back in September, Real Betis secured a thrilling 4-3 win at the Estadio Benito Villamarín.
    • Likewise, the Greens have won each of their last five matchups across all formats, including a 1-0 win against Barcelona over the weekend.
    • However, Celtic have lost just one of their last 13 straight matchups from across all competitions, a run that stems back to the end of September.
    • Betis forward Juanmi has racked up nine La Liga goals since opening the 2021/22 campaign.
    • Three of Celtic’s last four matchups have finished with over 2.5 goals.

    Conclusion

    Already knowing that they will feature in the Conference League next year, Celtic will be desperate to try and sign off their Group G campaign with a morale boost in Glasgow. However, while last month’s 3-2 defeat away at Bayer Leverkusen might be their only defeat from any of their last 13 contests, the Scottish giants will know that they face a stern test here. With Real Betis claiming an eye-catching victory away at Barcelona over the weekend, Thursday’s guests have only continued on their own purple patch. Booking their spot in the knockout stage with time to spare, we could have a lively affair on our hands here. Playing out a seven-goal thriller at the Estadio Benito Villamarín back in September, we’re backing a similar action-packed meeting.

    Verdict: Over 1.5 goals in the first-half

    Best Odds: 11/8

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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