Real Betis vs Real Madrid

Real Betis welcome a league-leading Real Madrid side to their slice of Seville on Saturday afternoon.

There is a distinct Real Madrid twang to this current iteration of Real Betis. Led by former Madrid manager Manuel Pellegrini, Betis have strung together a ten-match unbeaten sequence in La Liga thanks in no small part to the regal elegance of Isco, a former star for the capital club.

Carlo Ancelotti’s visitors are also enjoying a commanding run of results in Spain’s top flight, with defeat to city rivals Atletico Madrid the only blemish on their record as they occupy first place.

Here’s everything you need to know about the meeting between two in-form sides this weekend.

Country

TV channel/live stream

United Kingdom

LaLigaTV

United States

ESPN+, ESPN Deportes

Canada

TSN5, TSN+

Pellegrini didn’t make many changes for Betis’ midweek Copa del Rey tie with fourth-tier Villanovense. The relatively strong side that was deployed trailed their hosts as late as the 89th minute, only for goals from Abdessamad Ezzalzouli and Borja Iglesias to spare Betis’ blushes and secure a 2-1 win.

The scope for rotation is limited given the fleet of absentees for the Andalusians. Claudio Bravo’s hamstring issue leaves Rui Silva as the undisputed first-choice goalkeeper while William Carvalho’s muscular injury robs Pellegrini of his trusted midfield linchpin.

At right-back, Youssouf Sabaly is a doubt with a knee problem while Hector Bellerin is suspended. Marc Bartra won’t be able to fill in as he is nursing an Achilles tendon problem, leaving Pellegrini with a hole in his backline.

Nabil Fekir, Betis’ talisman before Isco took up the mantle, suffered a setback upon his return from a lengthy absence which could keep the Frenchman out until Christmas. Fellow forward Rodri is a doubt after complaining of physical discomfort.

Real Betis predicted lineup vs Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Silva; Miranda, Pezzella, Riad, Abner; Rodriguez, Roca; Ruibal, Isco, Ezzalzouli; Igelsias

Veteran Luka Modric has returned to Real Madrid training / Fran Santiago/GettyImages

Real Madrid have been able to string together five consecutive victories across all competitions despite enduring their worst injury pile-up of the season.

Luka Modric has returned to training but the French duo of Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni will not be featuring in midfield again this calendar year. Vinicius Junior is on a similar recovery trajectory, with a January return tentatively pencilled in.

Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao will do well to appear at all this season after the pair sustained ACL injuries in the summer.

Dani Carvajal’s strong form has been cut short by a calf problem while the scarcely spotted Arda Guler continues to constantly be on the brink of making his long-awaited debut.

Real Madrid predicted lineup vs Real Betis (4-3-1-2): Lunin; Vazquez, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Bellingham; Diaz; Rodrygo, Joselu

Those filtering into the Estadio Benito Villamarin on Saturday afternoon in search of goals may leave disappointed. Three of the previous five meetings between Betis and Madrid have ended in scoreless draws.

If either side does find the back of the net, Madrid are the most likely scorers. Only surprise package Girona have been more prolific in La Liga than Ancelotti’s side, who also boast the best defensive record in the division.

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