Preview: Barcelona vs. Real Betis

Barcelona will be looking to win in La Liga for the first time in over a month when they welcome Real Betis to Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon.

Ronald Koeman's side have made a disappointing start to the season, picking up just eight points from six matches to sit 12th in the table, while Betis are currently seventh in Spain's top flight.

Two wins, two draws and two defeats - that is how Barca have performed in La Liga this season, collecting just eight points from their six matches to sit 12th in the table ahead of this weekend's clash.

The Catalan giants - beaten to last season's Spanish title by Real Madrid - are already nine points off the top of the division, although they do have two games in hand over current leaders Real Sociedad.

Koeman's side have collected just two points from their last four league matches, losing back-to-back fixtures against Getafe and Real Madrid before drawing at Alaves last weekend.

Barca have been impressive in the Champions League this season, though, winning all three of their group matches against Ferencvaros, Juventus and Dynamo Kiev to collect nine points from an available nine.

The La Liga giants are yet to ignite their domestic season, but a win over Betis this weekend would certainly boost their confidence ahead of their next match after the international break away to Atletico Madrid.

Inconsistent would be the correct word to describe Betis this season, with Manuel Pellegrini's side winning four and losing four of their first eight league games of 2020-21.

A total of 12 points has left them in seventh position in the table, although the majority of the teams around them have at least one game in hand, and they could slide down the division by the end of the weekend.

A poor run of form between September 26 and October 24 saw Betis lose four of their five matches, but they recorded an important 3-1 victory at home to Elche last weekend.

The Seville outfit actually finished down in 15th last season and will be determined to push higher up the table this season, with Pellegrini appointed in the hope of overseeing a successful period.

Los Verdiblancos have lost their last three league matches with Barca - including a 5-2 defeat in the corresponding game last term - but they recorded a 4-3 victory at Camp Nou during the 2018-19 campaign.

Barcelona La Liga form: WWDLLD
Barcelona form (all competitions): LWLWDW

Real Betis La Liga form: LLWLLW

Barca will again be without the services of Ronald Araujo, Samuel Umtiti and Philippe Coutinho through injury, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen made his first appearance of the season against Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday night and will now feature between the sticks in the league for the first time in 2020-21.

Koeman is expected to make changes from the side that started in the Champions League, with Clement Lenglet and Sergi Roberto set to return to the XI.

Miralem Pjanic and Sergino Dest could be the players to drop out of the side, but there are unlikely to be any alterations further forward with Ansu Fati, Pedri and Antoine Griezmann expected to keep their spots alongside Lionel Messi, who has only scored once in the league this term.

As for Betis, Dani Martin and Victor Camarasa remain on the sidelines through injury, while Juanmi and Andres Guardado are both huge doubts for the contest at Camp Nou.

Cristian Tello is expected to overcome a muscular issue to face his former club, while Emerson is available to tackle his parent side and should continue at right-back.

William Carvalho could return in the middle of the park as extra protection, but Nabil Fekir and Sergio Canales should again feature in support of Antonio Sanabria, who is expected to be given the nod at the tip of the attack despite the presence of Borja Iglesias.

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, De Jong; Pedri, Messi, Fati; Griezmann

Real Betis possible starting lineup:
Bravo; Emerson, Mandi, Bartra, Moreno; Carvalho, Rodriguez; Fekir, Canales, Tello; Sanabria

Source: SportsMole / Matt Law

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