Betis head into one of the biggest fixtures in their calendar in good form. Two wins and a draw out of three. Sevilla head into el derbi not so good form, the opposite in fact: two losses and a draw. As we know from past experience form really doesn’t count for anything. Nada.
The derby is its own beast. It’s passion-filled, furious and frantic. In jornada 16 this season the first encounter finished 0-0 before Sevilla went on to beat us comfortably in the copa del rey. Tomorrow’s battle will take place in Sevilla’s Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán home with those ‘locos de la cabeza’ in green and white occupying a small wedge of the stadium.
The atmosphere will be electric as always with nothing but whole hearted pride and prestige on the table. Including this game, there are four games left in this seasons edition of la liga, but both teams have pretty much accomplished their goals. Betis are safe from the drop and Sevilla are sitting in 7th position, six points clear of Valencia in 8th.
Last time out Betis played fairly well against Las Palmas, beating them 1-0 thanks to a late goal from the unlikely hero of Ricky Van Wolfswinkel. The game should have been finished off earlier but we couldn’t quite find the break through even though Las Palmas were down to 10 men for most of the game. Van Wolfswinkel won’t have done enough to stake a claim in the starting line-up, but Ceballos will almost definitely be there after having one of his most impressive performances of the season. Ceballos set up Van Wolfswinkel for his goal and created a whole load of other chances, something which he just hasn’t done this season. Hopefully this will give him the self-confidence to dictate play tomorrow afternoon.
In terms of squads, Betis bring in two new faces from last weekend: Xavi Torres and Montoya. Not sure why Xavi Torres is in and Jorge Molina is out, but there you go. Sevilla are likely to have top goalscorer Kevin Gameiro back in action after being missing recently. The Frenchman has got 15 goals this season and he’s a key figure for the eternal rivals but Betis have their own formidable frontman with 17 goals this season: Rubén Castro, of course. He’s the joint top Spanish goalscorer alongside Aritz Aduriz and Borja Bastón.
The flames have been well and truly stoked pre-game with Sevilla defender Adil Rami having a few choice words to say on Instagram; saying the game is a pre-season game and that Betis’ future lies in the segunda. Stupid man. He quickly back-tracked on saying “I have maximum respect for Real Betis.” Stop talking out of your arse with an apology you don’t mean. Don’t mind a bit of banter but let’s hope that he well and truly lives to regret his outburst by the end of tomorrow’s game.
Game kicks off at 3pm UK time and 4pm in Spain.