On the rise?

There is a bit of an underlying rumbling passing through el Benito Villamarín at the minute and for once it’s firmly towards the positive end of the spectrum. Since that awful December and January run, February and March are proving to be almost diametrically opposite.

After 12 consecutive games without a win Betis are now:

  • 6 games unbeaten (3 wins and 3 draws)
  • Scoring goals (!) – that’s 10 goals in the last 5 games compared to 16 goals in 23 games!
  • Scored 3 goals in a single la liga match which they haven’t done for almost two years
  • Playing decent football which the fans are responding to
  • 10 goals in 5 games – did I mention that?

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Mixed bag of results to end the friendlies

There we have it, all the pre-season friendlies have been played. Betis finished proceedings with a mini-tournament for the Trofeo Carranza.

They took on Granada on Friday, which (I apologise for using an overused cliche) certainly was a game of two halves. First half was terrible and ended with Granada leading 1-0. Second half was much better and saw Betis run out 2-1 winners thanks to goals from the deadly duo of Molina and Rubén Castro.

I am still worried that these two are pretty much the only players who look likely to score more than a handful of goals. 

A win on Friday meant that they were through to the final to be played against Atlético Madrid. For some reason Pepe Mel but a second string line-up out, when really it would have been more beneficial to player a team that may realistically start the season, considering it is only a week away. 

Betis didn’t play great and lost 3-0. They certainly deserved to lose but Pepe Mel said his team were better than the scoreline suggested. That may be true but the jury is out.

How will Betis perform next week againsg Villarreal? My guess is that only the higher beings will know. Ever since I have started watching Betis, every time they have been in La Liga, they have been predictable unpredictable. 

Looks like we could be in for another highly entertain, if not a little frustrating, season. One thing is clear though, it is fantastic to say we’re a La Liga team once more and kick off is less than a week away!

More news to come midweek. 

Vargas joins the ‘Project’ as pre-season rolls on

vargas

Juan Manuel Vargas (image from eldesmarque.com)

Juan Manuel Vargas rolled into Santa Justa train station on Monday evening to become Betis’ 8th summer signing.

The 31 year old Peru international is set to sign, subject to completing a medical tomorrow, for two years with an optional third year. He was a free agent after his contract at Fiorentina ran out. It seems obvious that former Fiorentina sporting director, Eduardo Macià, was key in getting the player onto the Betis books.

Vargas can play anywhere down the left hand side, but has developed more as an left sided attacking midfielder renowned for a superb cross. He’s nickname is ‘El Loco’ – the mad one.

Now, Betis really do need to offload some first team players.

Pre-Season Continues

Since returning from Germany, the level of performance on the field has been raised. Pepe Mel says the team ‘va a mejorando’ – it’s getting better, but there is still a lot of improvement to be made.

On Friday los verdiblancos took on Recreativo de Huelva and ran out 2-1 winners. Betis were 1-0 down at half time after conceding a poor goal from a simple free kick from the right hand side. The second half performance improved and Betis were dominant. Two goals from Jorge Molina ensured Betis went home winners, and he could have had a hat-trick but skied a penalty in the closing stages.

On Sunday evening, Pepe Mel and his men took on La Liga outfit Espanyol in Catalonia. They faced up to a couple of familiar faces in the shape of Jose Cañas and the silver fox, Salva Sevilla. It was a decent showing with Dani Ceballos showing a lot of people what he is about with some terrific moments of skill and incision.

Rubén Castro gave Betis the lead before Felipe Caicedo evened things up. As the game was for Trofeo Ciudad de Barcelona, a draw was no good, so the game went straight to penalties. It was perfect scoring for both sides with nine penalties scored out of nine before Ceballos stepped up for Betis.

In a example of ‘he’s still got a lot to learn’, Ceballos tried to be too clever and chip the goal into the goal. However, he was made to look a bit stupid as the goalkeeper literally stood there and caught the goal in front of his face. That is not to taint what was a good performance from the youngster, showing his capability of performing on a higher level.

Next up for Betis in what will be their final friendly, is Granada on 14th August before the season kicks off properly against Villarreal.