1. Betis end Valladolid’s winning streak
Real Betis were an exciting surprise last season due to their ambitious style; it brought plenty of goals but not always at the right end for Los Verdiblancos. They were involved in high-scoring games such as a 6-3 loss to Valencia, a 5-0 loss to Barcelona, a 5-3 loss to Real Madrid and a 4-4 draw with Real Sociedad. However, this season has been the opposite as they’ve controlled most games with their sterile possession play while rarely threatening.
Recent games have seen an improvement in terms of results as well as the quality of their attacking play, especially from an aesthetic standpoint. There was a significant squad overhaul in the summer as eight players were signed and three first-team players were sold. This is likely to have played a large part in the slow start because of the high demands of Quique Setien’s tactical system.
Prior to the Atletico Madrid loss, they were unbeaten in the last eight in all competitions with three straight wins. New signings Giovani Lo Celso, Sidnei, William Carvalho and Sergio Canales appear to have settled into the side, so the team is starting to have penetration into the final third alongside their ability to retain possession.
They still have issues finding the net, though, and have scored only five goals so far, the worst mark in the league. This has to be addressed if they want to replicate the success of last season and finish in the Europa League spots or even challenge for the final Champions League position, which Valencia had last season. Valladolid aren’t much better going forward, having scored only seven goals, but they’ve picked up 10 points from the last four games, including three one-goal wins.
This will be a tough test for Los Verdiblancos, but they should be able to control the tempo of the game and carve out enough chances to win.