The weekend is here we all look forward, when international duty is finally over! Betis return to la liga action this Sunday in what could be the start of our push up the table. It’s not been the smoothest starts with a defeat and a loss but Manager Gus Poyet will have had over two weeks to work with most of his players and get them more accustomed to his tactics and work on things that haven’t gone right.
At 4pm CET (3pm UK) they take on a very complicated Valencia side who have had the worst start of any primera team. Los Che side themselves rock-bottom of the table after being beaten by Las Palmas (2-4) and Eibar (1-0). Not impressive at all against two sides they should definitely be beating. The former third place perennial finishers have not had a good time of late and it’s Betis’ turn to pile the pressure on.
Gus Poyet knows this too and says the fans expect more and that the team will be delivering. However, Betis haven’t won at La Mestalla in 30 years! Would be some win on Sunday is Poyet and los verdiblancos can deliver.
Team News for Valencia
Tonny Sanabria is still trying to shake off an injury to be available for selection. His training has been impeded over the last few days but staff will see how he gets on over the next 24 hours but in the words of Poyet it will be ‘difficult’.
New signings who haven’t graced the field of play yet include Ryan Donk and Darko Brasanac. Donk more than likely won’t play on Sunday as he still isn’t quite match fit but depends on his recovery today. Brasanac has more of chance having arrived at Betis in much better condition. He will definitely be in the squad and could even start.
Chilean midfielder Felipe Gutiérrez arrived back in Spain only on Thursday morning after playing for his national team against Bolivia. He trained on Friday and is eager to play according to Poyet. He’s travelled to Valencia and I imagine will play an important role.
Alex Martínez and Jonas Martin both trained individually on Friday as they try to recover from their respected injuries and Charly Musonda has returned to training as normal which is great news. Musonda played the whole 90 minutes for the Belgium U-21s where he was key in the defeat of the Czech Republic.
For Valencia they will have a new-look to their side as they plan to include all three of their new signings. Ezequiel Garay, Eliaquim Mangala and on-loan Barcelona striker Munir are all likely to come straight in to the side to make their home debuts. Valencia have had problems with their defence in the opening two games but Mangala and Garay should help to make this a little firmer.
Also interestingly for me, former United player Nani is set to make a start with Rodrigo dropping to the bench. Mario Suárez, another new signing of Valencia’s, is set to start initially on the bench. They have a major dilemma with who their goalkeeper will be and practiced their starting line-up without one yesterday.
The referee for Sunday’s game is José Luis González González – so bad they named him twice. The reason for that is because Betis have not won with him in charge since 2012; four defeats and four draws. For the game at Valencia, Gus Poyet will not be on the bench to give him an earful (probably a good thing) due to him being suspended for having a go at another ref. Poyet will also be banned for the game against Granada but will be back for the all important derbi.
In other news, former Sporting Director Eduardo Macía, who let’s be fair didn’t have the most successful spell at the club, is close to joining Premier League champions Leicester City as Head of Recruitment. Interesting move.
I don’t think there is a much better time to take on Valencia who are looking quite weak at the time. It’s a big game on Sunday for Betis (aren’t they all) and Poyet says the players know the importance of the game. I’ve got a feeling that we may pull a very good result out of the bag and perhaps Poyet can get his first win as manager and Betis can break that 30 year La Mestalla losing streak.