An inspirational year in review for Betis (video)

What a difference a year makes, 365 little days, so many jubilant olés, where there used to be for goodness sakes.

The team, and I think the club as a whole, has made great strides this season. The headline result is a 6th place finish and a spot in the Europa League next year. But it feels like we’ve achieved much more than this.

The Setién revolution

Quique Setién has revolutionised the way we play football, the way the players interact and the confidence each has, which has in turn completely altered the atmosphere at the club. He has made us entertaining again. Entertaining but also effective.

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EuroBetis + the BlogBetis doors are opening

Hemos vuelto. We’ve returned. Eurobetis is official.

A magical second half to the campaign has been capped off the with news that Betis will be playing Europe League football next year. Monday’s 2-1 win over already-relegated Malaga put us in an unassailable position for 7th placed Getafe, confirming the fantastic news for the club.

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Valencia vs Betis – Test for both with sights on Europe

As a large swath of Europe thaws out after a week of sub-zero temperatures, Betis will be making a trip across Spain to Valencia, where it is currently a balmy 18 degrees. As far as fixtures go in jornada 27, forget about top of the table clash between Barcelona and Atletico, Valencia vs Betis is the stand out in my highly unbiased opinion. If the 6-3 reverse fixture earlier in the season is anything to go, the game itself will be red hot.

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Sevilla 3 – 5 Betis – One of the Greatest Seville Derbies

This was a game where football was the true winner…and Betis technically.

Excuse the facetiousness but surely a certain amount is allowed after coming out on top of a game like that? It had pretty much everything you would want for in a game of football. Completely none stop action from  quite literally the 1st minute to the last of the 95 minutes played, and everything else in between. Eight goals between the teams, both hit the frame of the goal, the crowd were on fire and there was a feistiness between the players on the field with plenty of yellow cards, as you would expect from a gran derbi.

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A Club Legend Returns Just in Time for the Seville Derby

It’ll be Los Reyes Magos time on Saturday when Real Betis make the 3km trip across town to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán to take on the eternal rivals. The Epiphany, or Three Kings’ Day, is a day when Spanish children exchange their Christmas gifts, and los verdiblancos fans will be hoping for the greatest gift of all…no, not frankincense, myrrh or gold, but a big fat three points.

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Espanyol vs Betis Preview – Monday evening trip to Catalonia

Next up in the sight-lines of the Betis steamroller are Espanyol, a team who haven’t set many pulses racing this season. Two players who have been particularly influential in the handing out of said steamrollering are Tonny Sanabria and Sergio Leon.

Summer signing Sergio Leon has slipped back in at Betis absolutely seamlessly, having learned his trade at the club as a youngster before being offloaded to Reus in 2011. For the last six years Leon has journeyed around several clubs without ever finding a permanent role, but his first few months back at the Benito Villamarin couldn’t have been much better and the 28 year old really does seem at home.

Aside from the early Betis history, Leon’s story has some very similar hallmarks to another journeyman striker who came to find a home a Betis in his last twenties and someone I have mentioned a few times on BlogBetis. Yes, you guessed it, one Ruben Castro. After 10 years of going from club to club, Castro came to Betis, settled down and found the back of the net 135 times to become Betis’ all-time top goalscorer. Ever.

Sergio Leon grabbed both of the goals in midweek Copa del Rey win against Cadiz where los verdiblancos ran out 2-1 winners., taking his tally to 6 for the campaign. His first was a superb, instinctive finish from the edge of the area, rocketing into the top right corner, very Ruben Castro-esque. Leon’s second was a powerful finish from 8 yards out sending the keeper the wrong way.

Leon’s partner in crime this season has been Tonny Sanabria. The 21 year old Paraguayan has already scored as many goals this year as he did the last one and he’s really starting to fulfill his potential. He always had this in him, but I think playing alongside Leon, and even Joaquin, has undoubtedly had a positive influence.

Betis the neutrals’ favourite this season

In more general terms, Betis have been great value this season for the neutrals; going forward with so much purpose that defending has been somewhat of an after-thought, at best.

Quique Setien’s Betis side have scored 15 goals in the last 5 games, but also conceded 11. However, Espanyol will prove difficult to break down at the RCDE Stadium, formally known as Estadi Cornella-El Prat, where Quique Sanchez Flores’ men have conceded 3 in 4 games. Espanyol aren’t exactly free-scoring though, with 5 in their last 5 games and 4 of those coming against Deportivo.

On to the team news and we should have nearly a full complement to choose from. Cristian Tello is out and so is central defender Zou Feddal who’s picked up a knee knock. Joel Campbell is in the squad but also a doubt after missing training this week. In better news, Javi Garcia has recovered from his injury and is back in the squad, giving Setien a few more options in the centre of midfield.

Espanyol have a few late drop outs in the way of Didac, Sergio Sanchez and former Real Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero. In Leo Baptistao, there’s a fairly familiar face for beticos, with the midfielder making a handful of appearances back in 2014.

Betis squad: Adán, Dani Giménez, Barragán, Rafa Navarro, Mandi, Jordi Amat, Tosca, Javi García, Guardado, Fabián, Camarasa, Narváez, Nahuel, Joaquín, Boudebouz, Campbell, Sanabria and Sergio León.

Espanyol squad: Pau López, Aarón, Víctor Sánchez, Naldo, Gerard Moreno, Sergio García, Jurado, Leo Baptistao, Diego López, Javi López, Hernán Pérez, Javi Fuego, Piatti, Diop, Hermoso, Darder and Álex Domíguez.

Kick off is 8pm GMT and is live on Sky Sports for you UK-based people.

Viva el Betis!

Betis vs Valencia preview – two teams reinvented

Over the years this is the type of fixture that would raise an eyebrow and a brief head nod for any Spanish football enthusiast. With two of Spain’s iconic clubs going head-to-head, it’s an enticing,  aesthetically pleasing fixture with potential to be a cracker.

In the last few seasons, it’s fair to say that neither team has had a vintage crop of players. In years gone by, Valencia were the perennial third placers with the odd league title, before Atlético Madrid turned up to rudely take that act. Meanwhile Betis have somewhat continued to be the unexpected Betis.

Since Pepe Mel was relinquished of his role first time around, Betis on the whole haven’t been worth watching. However, the times they are a changin’.

Betis are back. At least so far anyway. We have been re-envigorated since Quique Setién took over in the summer playing seven so far this season, winning four and scoring 14. Setién has also brought his style of football, which after a few teething problems, has started to look very effective. Good possession, dynamism, teamwork and effectiveness going forward. Some of our goals this season have been Barcelona tiki-taka-esque. The winner against Real Madrid was pure poetry in motion.

For their own part, Valencia have been rolling back the years. Consecutive 3-2 wins away at Real Soecidad, then at home to Athletic, preceded by a 5-0 hammering of Málaga.

Aside from the surface aesthetics, this is now a fixture to watch for the right reasons once again.

Betis-Valencia team news

Betis have the chance to make history this evening, by winning a fourth consecutive home game. The last time that was achieved was in the 2001/02 season. Before that was 1964/65 and before that was the title-winning team of 1934-35. In short, it’s not happened much. The new stadium has bred a new inner strength.

Tonny Sanabria looks like a new player. Scoring four in his last three games, he could be starting up front alongside the evergreen Joaquín and the tenacious Sergio León, although he could make way for Cristian Tello, who with his pace and skill, looks like a constant threat.

In midfield will be the impressively classy Andres Guardado, alongside Camarasa and the new hottest talent on the block – Fabían. What a player he could turn out to be. Dani Ceballos who? Javi García, who has been a key figure this season, misses out through a quad injury. The back five is looking stable and fairly solid.

What Setién has done for Betis, Marcelino has done for Valencia. Simone Zaza has been excellent this season as has Rodrigo alongside him. One of Valencia’s biggest changes is that they seemed to have sured up a leaky defence with Kondogbia patrolling just in front and Murillo and Garay forming a good partnership.

Kick off is 19:45 GMT tonight (20:45 Spain) live from el Benito Villamarin. Be sure to tune in for this one.

Viva el Betis!

A year in the making: the Benito Villamarin is ready for action!

Today is a special day. Not only do Betis play at home for the first time this season, but they play at a brand-spanking, green-and-white gleaming new stadium. It’s been a year in the making after playing the whole of last season without Gol Sur, the south stand, but tonight against Celta Vigo, the doors will be open for the first time and the place will be rocking.

Cleverly, the club have been filming every moment of the revamp and the results are incredible. The official video below shows a time-lapse from start to finish condensed down into two minutes. It’s definitely worth a watch if you want to psyche yourself up before the game tonight. The Benito Villamarin is now the Bonito Villamarin.

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Guide to Buying Real Betis Tickets and the Benito Villamarín Stadium

*Article updated January 2018*

As most readers are likely to know, there are two teams that hail from the city of Seville: Real Betis and Sevilla FC – you can read here all about the history of football in Seville from the start of the 20th century.

This means that every week there will more than likely be a football match in the city, with each team playing on alternate weekends, although this depends on the La Liga calendar. Of course, if you are on BlogBetis, you’ll probably be wondering how you can watch the majestic Real Betis live. Below you’ll find a full guide to attending a Betis football match at the Benito Villamarín

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Ceballos to sign for Real Madrid after rejecting new Betis contract

After weeks of rumours and uncertainty, it looks like the Dani Ceballos saga is finally going to be over and completed in the next few hours after the player flew up to Madrid on Sunday evening.

With him always likely to leave, many Betis fans were hopeful the young superstar to-be would sign a new contract and gather more la liga experience before flying the nest, not to mention increase his buy-out clause in the meantime. However, it looks like Dani is seizing the opportunity whilst it’s there and is set to sign on the dotted line for the Primera and Champions League winners.

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