Every football season will not begin perfectly. Early stumbles will sometimes need to be dealt with, as a talented manager and motivated players have the ability to turn things around. For Real Betis and Quique Setién, there is strong evidence that they are now on a successful path after struggling during the start of 2018-19.
After their sixth-place finish last term, there were significant expectations for Los Verdiblancos this season. Setién’s free-flowing and exciting brand of football would showcase their skill in the Europa League, and the summer addition of William Carvalho only strengthened their midfield. But, those high hopes were not being reached when the campaign began.
A 3-0 home loss to Levante in the season opener raised concerns, and Betis were having difficulty scoring with any consistency. Defeats to Atlético Madrid, Real Valladolid and Getafe would follow, as the club continued to slide down the league table. Recent form has seen them climb back within two points of the European places, and even during some disappointing results there were signs that fortunes would eventually be reversed.
A September victory over local rival Sevilla sent a jolt through everyone involved with Betis, and their Europa League performances had been impressive. The most notable was in October, as a trip to the San Siro brought a 2-1 win at AC Milan.
The major turning point was last month at the Camp Nou, earning a thrilling and entertaining 4-3 triumph against Barcelona. Sergio Canales and Junior Firpo have been outstanding, as Carvalho has also delivered a calming presence in front of the back-line.
— Real Betis Balompié (@RealBetis_en) December 2, 2018
After securing the top spot in their Europa League group last week, Betis followed it up with a win versus Real Sociedad. They will host Racing Santander in the Copa del Rey mid-week, before aiming for three points against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday. Considering their current results and the confidence that has been seen with the players, one would think that victories in both fixtures should be on the horizon.