La Liga resumes this weekend, with league leaders Barcelona welcoming European hopefuls Real Betis to Camp Nou for the 32nd Round of the 2022/23 season.
The hosts, albeit poor in other competitions this season, have been brilliant in the league, shooting themselves to the top with 24 wins from 31 games.
However, they have been wobbly recently and have won just one of their last four league games (D2, L1). A surprising 2-1 loss to Rayo Vallecano was the most recent of those results.
Yet the Blaugrana remain in pole position to secure a first title since 2019 thanks to their 11-point lead ahead of this round. However, their huge lead at the summit is perhaps sparking worries about motivation levels amongst the squad.
But despite conceding two against Rayo, the hosts (11 conceded) are in line to better the all-time joint-best defensive record for a 38-game La Liga campaign (18).
Returning to Spotify Camp Nou could boost their plans as Barcelona have conceded only two league goals there this campaign – one from a penalty and the other an own goal.
Real Betis travel to Camp Nou in a poor run of form, having won just one of their last five games (D1, L3). Their goalless draw against Real Sociedad last matchday saw Los Verdiblancos fail to reduce the gap in the race for UEFA Champions League qualification.
Therefore, coach Manuel Pellegrini has admitted they are “fighting for the Europa League and everything else is a dream.”
The coach will be looking for a win, but he doesn’t exactly have a strong history against Barcelona to call upon, with the Chilean losing 23 of his 32 meetings in his illustrious career.
Improving that will require an improvement on the road where Betis are winless in over two months in all competitions (D1, L3), losing both of their last two away matches in La Liga.
Given how solid Barca have been at the back in Camp Nou this season, a low-scoring affair is expected in this game. So an under 2.5 goals game will be the likeliest outcome here.