Time to shine in Gran Canaria

Betis face a potential banana skin trip to Gran Canaria this Saturday to take Las Palmas. Although los amarillos are in rock-bottom position, a win will take them out of the relegation zone as the two teams immediately above Las Palmas, Levante and Granada, pair off against each other.

A win for Betis could take them as high as 7th place, momentarily at least, as all the other sides they could leapfrog play tomorrow (apart from Sevilla who take on Sporting today).

Speaking of the eternal rival, Betis do have half an eye on them, as in exactly a week’s time we will be ready to watch the first derbi sevillano of the season. There has been a little bit of talk this week of resting certain players on the cusp of returning from injury – namely Adán and N’Diaye – in order for them to be fresh for the derby. I do understand this discussion but it also worries my slightly as we really should be fully concentrating on Las Palmas. In terms of percentages, a win against Las Palmas is more likely than against Sevilla, so in my opinion we should be doing all we can to get three points in Gran Canaria and go back to Heliopolis in full confidence ready to take on Sevilla.

It seems that Pepe Mel has taken a half and half approach to this one. He’s included Adán in the squad but not N’Diaye.

History favours Betis

El Estadio de Gran Canaria holds many a good memory for Real Betis. Last time out we won 0-3 as we galloped our way to promotion. In fact, Las Palmas have not won at home to Betis in La Liga since 1985.

One of our key players happens to hail from the very island itself. Goalscoring machine, Rubén Castro, was born, bred and started his career in Las Palmas playing 112 games for the first team before being signed by Deportivo La Coruña. He then journeyed around for six years before joining Betis…and the rest is history.

His record against his old team is fantastic. In 10 games since leaving he’s scored seven goals against them, which hasn’t exactly made him popular on his home turf and it’s likely that he won’t receive the best welcome this evening. Quique Setién, manager of Las Palmas, knows what Rubén brings commenting that he is “uncontrollable” and “very difficult to stop”. Let’s hope he bags another goal to shut the boo boys up.

This game is not going to be easy with Las Palmas not having a terrible home record (it’s certainly better than Betis’), that’s why I’m hoping Pepe Mel and his players do not underestimate their opponents and become slack, which we have seen a few times before.

Squad news is as follows: Adán, Dani Giménez, Ángel de la Calzada, Molinero, Piccini, Pezzella, Westermann, Jordi Figueras, Varela, Vargas, Petros, Xavi Torres, Fabián, Van der Vaart, Portillo, Joaquín, Cejudo, Vadillo, Van Wolfswinkel, Jorge Molina y Rubén Castro.

Dani Ceballos and Bruno are suspended.

Last time out against Celta, Betis were a vast improvement in comparison to their other home games. I think Mel should stick to a very similar starting line-up, to give a bit of consistency and a chance for the players to develop their understanding further; the squad is much changed and I’m hoping now that we can see the players begin to gel.
My starting line up: Dani Giménez; Piccini, Westermann, Pezzella, Varela; Petros, Xavi Torres, Van der Vaart, Joaquín, Vadillo; Rubén Castro.
The game kicks off at 21:05 GMT (22:05 Spain) on Saturday 12th December.

Viva el Betis!

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