Betis Vs. Real Madrid, La Liga 2012: Big Game For Betis After Loss Against Sevilla

Denis Doyle

It won't be easy for Betis, but after the 5-1 loss in the Sevilla derby, the Andalusian team focuses on beating Real Madrid (22:00 CET). Defender Paulao will miss the game due to an injury, and so will Rubén Pérez, who saw a red card against Reyes' team.

Despite Madrid being a much better team than Betis, Pepe Mel and his players are performing really well in this first third of the Liga BBVA season. Currently ranked in the sixth position and just above teams like Sevilla and Valencia, Betis will likely enjoy an easy season trying to avoid relegation once again, since that was their goal once the season started.

After a complicated summer trying to prevent Beñat from leaving to Athletic Bilbao, Betis has already managed to win six games. Getting a win against Real Madrid should be harder, though. Mourinho's team is starting to look better, and they deserved to win against Manchester City. Furthermore, Betis will be without Paulao, Mario and Rubén Pérez. Their defensive line will be really dangerous for their own interests, and given that Betis will be facing the likes of Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and many more, it's hard to find an scenario in which Real Madrid doesn't score more than one goal.

Betis knows how to play with the ball, though. Luckily enough for Real Madrid, Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe and Coentrao are playing really well in the last couple of games. It wasn't easy for Mourinho to replace Arbeloa and Marcelo when Coentrao was down as well, but it all looks better now that this defensive line has been playing together for some time.

Khedira's return has helped Xabi Alonso as well. The German midfielder doesn't have a clear replacement in the roster, and it's obvious that Alonso plays much more comfortably with number six at his side. When Özil stayed on the bench for the game against City, people expected to see a 4-3-3 formation with Modric, Khedira and Alonso playing in the midfield. Instead, the Croatian playmaker performed in Özil's position. Mesut Özil could return to the starting lineup against Betis, meaning that Jose Mourinho doesn't want any surprises.

Callejón has been playing quite well this last month, and Di María finished the game against Manchester City exhausted, so the canterano's aggressive runs could be used by Mourinho to try to disrupt Betis' defensive line. With him on the pitch, Real Madrid lacks some creativity, but if Özil, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo play at their usual level, the team should have enough arguments to win the three points.

It'd be very important to have a clean game against Betis, since Atlético Madrid will visit the Santiago Bernabéu next week. But four days before that, Alcoyano will try to overcome the 1-4 lead Real Madrid earned at their own pitch in the Copa del Rey tie. That fixture could be used by Mourinho to rest his key players a bit, so the Portuguese coach will surely not have rotations in mind against Betis.

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