Bilbao vs Betis by Sunshine
In the last match before this one, held on Monday evening, Bilbao was defeated away to Espanyol with the 3:2 result. Start of the game didn't promise a lot, as the game had slow tempo, but the visitors stood behind in 24th minute, however equalized with a goal from De Marcos two minutes before the half-time whistle.
They had many defensive problems in the second half, conceded two more goals, in 49th and 66th minute, while they were only able to reduce the deficit in the last moments of the match with a goal from Ibai Gomez. This was second consecutive away defeat for a team of Ernesto Valverde who has now 3-0-2 record in the league, but aren't showing the quality in their performances as the coach would want. However, as his offensive part of the team isn't working as expected, attacking midfielder Herrera (was linked with a move to Manchester United in last days of transfer window) is expected to be back in the team and to be one of the key players tonight, taking the place of much more defensive Rico, while Valverde should return to 4-2-3-1 formation. Their two left backs, Balenziaga and Saborit remain out of the action due to injuries, and the position of left back will be covered by Laporte.
Betis was much more active and offensive in their last matches before this one, but they couldn't convert possession and chances into goals and finally stood with a goalless draw at home against Granada. With this result, team of Pepe Mel completed three consecutive matches without defeat, two draws and a victory, but missed the chances to catch the mid-table position.
However, it's still early in the season and their start can't be described as a poor one as the team has 1-2-2 record in Primera, but also are undefeated in five matches counting Europa League too. They will try to get points again in Bilbao, just like they did in previous two matches played there, as the team is very dangerous on counter attacks and has really fast midfielders that can make damage to most of the teams, while the coach warned that they must be very focused during every set-piece. Betis will be without striker Ruben Castro who was a top scorer in last two years, suffering from an injury as he didn't play last three matches either. Left midfielder Vadillo should be rested in this game, while the team has no other injury/suspension problems.
Both teams are coming into this game with quality attacking line, but problems at the back Open game is expected, where both teams should score at least once, Bilbao via possession and organized attacking, while Betis should be very dangerous in every counter attack they make.