Quique Setien’s Real Betis look to add to Real Madrid’s La Liga woes on Sunday evening, as Los Blancos roll up to Benito Villamarin this weekend.
Real Betis vs Real Madrid – Benito Villamarin – Sunday 13th January – Kick off 7.45pm UK time
After 2019 began as 2018 had ended for Los Blancos, Santiago Solari’s saw his side go down to a shock 2-0 loss against Real Sociedad last Sunday – the visitors’ first win at the Bernabeu since 2003.
Having been held by Villarreal just days earlier to begin the calendar year, Madrid now sit ten points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona, as La Blaugrana edged a difficult evening against Getafe last Sunday.
With another tricky trip to Andalusia in the offing this weekend, Solari’s plight as caretaker boss could deepen with his honeymoon period well and truly having ended.
Whilst the visitors form after their New Year resumption has been alarming, Betis themselves have also recommenced in uncertain fashion.
Los Verdiblancos were held to a draw against Eibar, before a lowly – if improving – Huesca beat the Andalusian side last weekend 2-1 at El Alcoraz.
Having been held by Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey on Thursday evening, it appears the hosts have lost their inconsistent goal-scoring touch and are still in somewhat of a mid-winter slumber.
The dangling carrot for Betis this weekend however, is the knowledge that win for host would hold firm their sixth spot in the table, but also close the gap on their opponents here to just a single point and fifth place.
For the hosts, the main concerns lie with centre-back Sidnei and Junior Firpo who remain doubts for Sunday’s game with shoulder and hamstring issues respectively.
Aside from that, Setien has an full quota to select from and could make changes after failing to pick up a win in the last three games.
Having only been involved from the bench in midweek, both Loren Moron and Cristian Tello could return to the starting XI against Real Madrid.
Los Blancos are without three first-team regulars, with Gareth Bale (calf), Thibaut Courtois (hip) and Toni Kroos (adductor) all ruled out to face Betis this weekend. Solari is also sweating on the status of winger Marco Asensio, who is struggling with a muscle problem.
Forward Mariano Diaz is also a doubt with sciatica, however midfielder Marcos Llorente is definitely out with an adductor muscle tear similar to Kroos.
With Lucas Vazquez suspended following his dismissal last time out, Isco could come in on the right wing, with Vinicius Junior deputising for Asensio on the opposing flank.
Real Betis (3-5-2): Lopez; Mandi, Bartra, Feddal; Guerrero, Canales, Lo Celso, Carvalho, Tello; Sanabria, Moron
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Ceballos; Isco, Benzema, Vinicius.
Real Betis 1-1 Real Madrid