Both sides haven’t had the rub of the green in recent weeks as both are struggling to get some points on the board. Real Betis suffered a heartbreaking defeat on Friday night whereas Villarreal were beaten at home for only the fourth time in the league as they fell to Eibar on the weekend.
LAST TIME OUT
Espanyol 2-1 Real Betis
Manager Victor Sánchez must still be wondering how his Betis side managed to lose a match having taken the lead with only 15 minutes remaining. It was a very slow burner on Friday night but it sparked into life as Sanabria was brought down in the penalty area and it was Rubén Castro who dispatched the penalty to put the visitors ahead. Incredibly, they couldn’t hang on as Espanyol scored two goals in the final three minutes of the game to snatch the victory.
Villarreal 2-3 Eibar
Not for the first time this season, Villarreal might feel that they have been robbed by a dubious refereeing decision that has cost them dearly. Controversy came after the interval as the referee awarded Eibar a penalty when there was no contact in the challenge. Eibar equalised and the referee made an even more stunning decision in failing to award Villarreal a penalty as there was a clear handball. The visitors then scored two more goals and despite Soriano’s double, Villarreal couldn’t snatch a draw.
REAL BETIS LINEUP
There are no new injury or suspensions concerning Real Betis for this midweek game.
Don’t expect too many alternations to the starting XI that featured against Eibar on the weekend.
Villarreal European place in threat
Villarreal are now in real danger of losing their place in the top six. The Yellow Submarine have lost two consecutive matches in La Liga and they are only one point ahead of 7th placed Athletic Bilbao and four points behind Eibar, who beat them on Saturday. Earlier on this season, they were pushing for a Champions League place but now, they are struggling to hang on for Europa League action next season.
Betis poor run of results
Villarreal are not the only side struggling in La Liga at the moment. After beating Málaga in the Andalusian derby back in February, Real Betis have only managed one win in their last five La Liga matches and that was against bottom of the table side Osasuna a fortnight ago. Betis are scoring goals but it’s at the back where they are having problems and they are in desperate need of a clean sheet.
Expect a penalty
Don’t be surprised to see a penalty awarded in this match. Villarreal have been awarded the most penalties in La Liga this season alongside Real Madrid and Athletic Club. There have also been two penalties awarded in the last four league matches that have involved Real Betis so watch this space.
PREDICTION: Real Betis 1-2 Villarreal
I’m predicting a cagey affair in this one as both teams are seriously lacking in confidence given the recent results in the past weeks. Villarreal were unfortunate with a couple of decisions on the weekend and they might turn their anger on Real Betis and demonstrate just why they are fighting for a place in Europe.
Can Villarreal continue to challenge for Europe? Give us your prediction in the comments section below.