Soccer Spain LaLiga Prediction
Sevilla vs Betis - Match Preview
⚽ 21 May 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0
Despite their appearance in the La Liga (LL) standings with four rounds to go, Sevilla appears to have the upper hand over crosstown rivals Real Betis heading into the 139th Seville derby. The home side was mired in the relegation zone and the visitors occupied a place in the top-four when these rivals last met in November, but in a remarkable turnaround under 62-year-old journeyman José Luis Mendilibar, Sevilla could mathematically finish the season ahead of Betis.
This will be their second home game in four days after booking their place in this month’s UEFA Europa League final against Roma with a draining Thursday night extra-time win against Juventus. Now that their season is back on track, their recent dominance over Betis at Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán - demonstrated by nine wins from their last ten competitive home Seville derbies - should bear a lot of weight. But with all five points Sevilla has dropped in an otherwise fantastic eight LL game period (W6, D1, L1) being lost at home, there’s no guarantee the party will continue.
Betis manager Manuel Pellegrini was delighted with their weekend home win against Rayo Vallecano (3-1), not just because it kept them within striking distance of fourth place and a Champions League group stage slot, but also because, in Pellegrini’s eyes, other competitors for European football such as Girona, Athletic Bilbao and Vallecano were “left behind” after they dropped points in the same round.
Whilst securing a top-four finish will be Pellegrini’s ultimate ambition, he has a score to settle with Sevilla, having not won any of his five LL clashes with Sevilla as Betis boss (D2, L3). Victory would also see his long history with Mendilibar even out to six wins apiece (D5), though that will be the last thing on his mind at such a crucial stage of the season.
📋 Players to watch: Owing to his role as a penalty taker, Lucas Ocampos has found the back of the net in four of Sevilla’s last seven LL victories. On a similar note, Betis’ only goalscorer in their previous LL away outing, Willian José, has won his last 13 competitive goalscoring appearances, which includes six penalty goals from six attempts.
⚡ Hot streak: The last eight H2Hs in all competitions produced fewer than 3.5 total goals.
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