MX23RW : Sunday, March 8 23:03:36| >> :600:2548982:2548982:
Feb 9, 2020 at 8pm UK at ​Benito Villamarin
Attendance: 54,526
Real Betis
Canales (6' pen.), Fekir (26')
Fekir (76')
FT(HT: 2-2)
de Jong (9'), Busquets (45'), Lenglet (72')
Lenglet (79')

Preview: Real Betis vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's La Liga clash between Real Betis and Barcelona, including team news and predicted lineups.

Barcelona will be looking to bounce back from Thursday's Copa del Rey disappointment when they travel to Real Betis in La Liga on Sunday night.

The Spanish champions are currently second in the table, three points off leaders Real Madrid, while Betis occupy 12th position with 28 points to show from their 22 fixtures.

Match preview

Real Betis forward Loren Moron in action against Barcelona in November 2018© Reuters

It would be fair to say that there will be plenty of eyes on Barca during the 90 minutes, but Betis will not exactly enter the match in the best of form having won just one of their last six in the league.

Indeed, having collected just six points since December 8, the Seville outfit have dropped into 12th position in the table, some six points behind seventh-placed Villarreal.

Betis actually finished sixth in 2017-18 but only claimed 10th last term and have struggled for consistency during the current season. Sunday will certainly be a special occasion for now Barca boss Quique Setien as he returns to the club that he left in May 2019.

Setien led the team to the Europa League during his first season at the helm but will not be in the mood to hand out any favours on Sunday night due to his current side's predicament.

Betis beat Barca 4-3 when they travelled to Camp Nou in November 2018, but they have not actually overcome the Catalan giants in a home La Liga fixture since March 2008.

Barcelona's Anssumane 'Ansu' Fati celebrates scoring their first goal with Lionel Messi on February 2, 2020© Reuters

The Spanish champions suffered a 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey on Thursday, and it has been a turbulent week considering that Lionel Messi hit back at Eric Abidal on social media in response to the sporting director's criticism of the players.

Messi himself is currently being linked with a move away, and it would be hugely damaging for the club if they were to lose the Argentine at the end of the campaign.

Ousmane Dembele's latest hamstring issue is expected to see the Frenchman miss the remainder of the season, meanwhile, leaving Barca desperately short in attack as Luis Suarez is also absent.

The Catalan giants are allegedly attempting to bring an emergency signing to the club, and Betis forward Loren Moron is the latest player to be linked with a potential move.

Barca suffered a 2-0 loss at Valencia in their last away La Liga match on January 25, although they did manage to pick up three huge points at home to Levante last weekend.

Real Madrid will have the chance to open up a six-point advantage at the summit on Sunday afternoon, though, and there is simply no downplaying the importance of this particular match in Seville.

Real Betis La Liga form: DLDWLD
Real Betis form (all competitions): DWWLLD

Barcelona La Liga form: DWDWLW
Barcelona form (all competitions): WWLWWL

Team News

Luis Suarez celebrates scoring for Barcelona on October 2, 2019© Reuters

Betis will again be without the services of Juanmi, William Carvalho and Andres Guardado through injury, while Zouhair Feddal will miss out through suspension.

Borja Iglesias is being tipped to get the nod over Moron at centre-forward, while Nabil Fekir should also feature in the final third of the field for the home side.

On-loan Barca midfielder Carles Alena is also expected to start for the Green and Whites as there is no clause preventing him from taking on his parent club.

As for the visitors, Gerard Pique will be unavailable through suspension, while as mentioned, key attackers Suarez and Dembele are both on the sidelines.

Antoine Griezmann was named on the bench against Bilbao but should return to the XI here, while Arturo Vidal is also expected to earn a starting role in the middle of the park.

Nelson Semedo could get the nod over Sergi Roberto at right-back, while a lack of options in the final third means that Ansu Fati is likely to be handed another spot in the starting XI.

Real Betis possible starting lineup:
Robles; Emerson, Mandi, Bartra, Moreno; Alena, Gonzalez, Canales; Joaquin, Iglesias, Fekir

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Lenglet, Umtiti, Alba; Vidal, Busquets, De Jong; Fati, Griezmann, Messi

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We say: Real Betis 1-2 Barcelona

It would certainly not be a surprise to see Betis pick up a positive result, but the Green and Whites are not in the best of form at the moment. Barca are certainly due a big result after a tough period, and we fancy the Spanish champions to record a narrow victory at the Estadio Benito Villamarin.

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Who will win Sunday's La Liga clash between Real Betis and Barcelona?

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Real Betis forward Loren Moron in action against Barcelona in November 2018
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