Saturday, May 29, 2010


Real Betis -0.25 1.88

All still to play for at the top and bottom of Segunda with just a single point separating third from seventh in the hunt for a La Liga spot and as many as 12 teams looking to avoid the drop. Normally in these circumstances, I like to take the home side looking to avoid relegation, as their desire is often a little greater, but I don't quite see it like that today. Spanish football is in something of a mess, only three clubs and I doubt you could name the third (Numancia) are opearting at a profit and there are going to be some huge changes in the next season or two.

This is something I touched upon recently and I am certain we will be returning to in the future, as bad a state as some of the EPL sides might be in, I feel that the underlying problems in Spain could be significantly worse.

All neutrals would like to see the bigger clubs back in the top flight, Sociedad look poised to be one of them this season and Betis who are one of the top 30-40 supported clubs in Europe definitely fall into that category. They are geared up for an immediate return to the top flight and the squad is packed full of experience, with 17 of the squad of 18 named today (see below) having played at the highest level, many with their current club.

Real Betis: Goitia, Ricardo, Rivas, Juanma, Arzu, Caffa, Damiá, Capi, Mehmet Aurelio, Pavone, Odonkor, Iriney, Jonathan Pereira, Carlos García, Nelson, Nacho, Juande y Rodri.

Real have made hard work of this at times, but seem to be coming with a perfectly timed challenge and are on a four match unbeaten run.They lie in fourth spot outside the top three on goal difference, but with so many teams battling for promotion probably know that they need 9 or 10 points minimum from their remaining four starts and this hugely experienced group, both on and off the pitch will be greedily eyeing up the three on offer today at Huesca, who usually play at a lower level and who have conceded ten in their last four outings.

Just fourteen months ago Betis were celebrating a famous win in the stadium of their biggest and nearest rival, half of this 18 man squad took part that day. Since when they have had to suffer the humiliation of relegation and watch Sevilla play in the Champions League, which they have again qualified for this season and win the Copa del Rey. Tough times to be a fan in the green half of the city and the prospect of another two huge derby games next season will be a mighty incentive, away win.

Back later.

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