18 March 2019
After booking their place in the Champions League quarter-finals, Barcelona travel to the Estadio Benito Villamarín to take on Real Betis looking for revenge on a 5-4 home defeat in the first half of the season.
A turbulent period followed by a lot of ups and downs currently see the hosts sit eight in the table, one point behind sixth-placed Sevilla. Although Los Verdiblancos pulled off two wins in their last five La Liga outings, their inability to maintain consistency has cost them two defeats in that period (W2, D1, L2). What’s more, the Andalusians have secured just two triumphs in their previous nine games across all competitions (W2, D3, L4), mainly thanks to the shaky backline. All three of their previous wins have seen them keep a clean sheet, but the Heliopolitanos have failed to beat their rivals in seven successive games in which they’ve conceded a goal. Quique Setién can’t be happy to host Barcelona at this point, especially considering the fact the Blaugrana have picked up four victories on their last five visits to this venue (W4, D1).
On the other hand, the Catalans are unbeaten in their last 12 competitive races (W8, D5). The visitors are sitting top of the league, with a seven-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid, as they come into this encounter after securing five consecutive wins across all competitions. What’s more, Ernesto Valverde’s men have gone from two back-to-back road stalemates to three successive triumphs, in which they’ve scored eight goals while keeping a clean sheet twice in the process. The most important thing for the Spanish manager is that Barcelona notably improved their defensive performances away from home, preserving a clean slate five times on their previous six road trips. Although it may seem odd, but just two of Barca’s last seven away clashes have produced over 2.5 goals, with Valverde’s players failing to hit the net three times.
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