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.
I don’t think there’s much doubt that Betis are currently the team to watch in Spain, arguable in Europe. It has taken Quique Setien’s unique style of play and management a little while to settle in, as you’d normally expect, but it’s paying off greatly now. We had some iffy performances before Christmas but our form since the start of 2018 has been remarkable. It all started with that 5-3 win against Sevilla in the Sanchez Pizjuan. In 2018 we’ve had 12 wins out of 18, 2 draws and 4 losses. These losses came against Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia and Celta Vigo, which underlines just how well and consistent this team has performed, making us well-deserved of our European place.
Interesting, two months after this fine and famous victory at the Sanchez Pizjuan, Betis were still 8 points behind their city rivals in La Liga (game week 27). Now 9 games later, Betis are 11 points ahead of Sevilla (stats courtesy of @pedritonumeros). We’ve also, so far, accumulated one of our highest points total in the league ever.
The key player in the 2018 turnaround?
Brought in during the January transfer window, he has been a crucial signing. The amount of assurance he has brought to the previously quite leaky defence has been immeasurable. For Betis to go 6 consecutive games without conceding (4 goals in 11) is almost unthinkable. I’m sure Antonio Adan’s lower back is especially pleased. Bartra has been put straight into the centre of the defence and created an excellent partnership with Aissa Mandi and Jordi Amat, quite literally becoming the cornerstone piece to the back three. Special mention also to Dominican Republic youngster Junior Firpo who’s made the jump from the B team to knock one of our previous top performers and international, Riza Durmisi, out of his left wing-back position. Junior has brought energy, consistency and even a couple of goals since he got in the side and has not looked back since.
Aside from singling out one or two players, the whole squad is crammed full of confidence and camaraderie, and are clearly loving their football. The mood towards the end of the win against Malaga was jubilant as it dawned on the fans that we would be back competing in the European scene.