Real Betis head into the new campaign under new management with Manuel Pellegrini taking over after a disappointing season under Rubi last term. Much better will be expected this time around in the green and white half of Seville, although there hasn’t been much transfer activity to get excited about thus far. Read on for our Real Betis season preview.
Last Season – 15th
Betis fans will be happy to see the back of last season. Joaquin’s 20 minute hat-trick against Athletic and a victory over eventual champions Real Madrid were among the few highlights in a campaign where Rubi failed to ever truly get his ideas across.
There were several moments, even early on in the season where he looked like a man on the brink of the sack. Some vital late goals kept him in a job but his luck was always likely to run out eventually and it wasn’t a huge surprise when the former Espanyol boss was finally dismissed just after the restart.
Betis’ season was in danger of petering out even before Spain went into lockdown and while they avoided getting sucked into the relegation battle, a 15th place finish was disappointing for all concerned following on from 6th and 10th place finishes in the previous two years under the guidance of Quique Setien.
Real Betis Transfers
Martín Montoya | from Brighton | FREE
Claudio Bravo | from Manchester City | FREE
Victor Ruiz | from Besiktas | FREE
Javi García | to Boavista | FREE
Edgar González | to Real Oviedo | LOAN
(Transfers up to 3rd September 2020.)
Coach – Manuel Pellegrini
Manuel Pellegrini is a very experienced coach and he returns to LaLiga after 7 years away. Having previously done good jobs with Villarreal and Malaga, it feels like he could be a good fit for a club like Betis and he is somebody who should know how to manage what can be a demanding fanbase.
The Betis job has perhaps just been too big for some of their recent appointments. That shouldn’t be a problem for Pellegrini who has held some of the biggest jobs in the European game. Things didn’t go as well as he would have hoped with West Ham in the Premier League and at the age of 66, this might just be Pellegrini’s last big job and he’ll be hungry to make the best of it.
Possible Betis Line Up 2020/21
In truth, it has been a relatively underwhelming summer in terms of transfers at the Benito Villamarin. There is still time for that to change but the board seem to have come to the conclusion that they do have good players and that with the right coach on board, they could achieve considerably better things.
The exception to that rule, may be at the back where efforts have been made to tighten things up and understandably so. Only relegated Mallorca conceded more than Real Betis (60) last season with few of their defenders covering themselves in glory.
Claudio Bravo is perhaps their most eye-catching signing and there could be a genuine battle between him and Joel Robles for the number one jersey. Former Valencia and Barcelona right back Martín Montoya is a solid addition but he may struggle to dislodge Emerson who is on loan at the Benito Villamarin for another year. Víctor Ruiz is another arrival on a free but again he may end up playing a back-up role despite the likes of Marc Bartra and Aissa Mandi struggling at times last season.
In midfield and attack, the personnel is very much the same as it was last season and it’ll be up to the new boss to decide how he wants things to shape up. Borja Iglesias is likely to get another chance to shine up front after a poor campaign with Nabil Fekir playing off him. The likes of Joaquin and Sergio Canales should provide the creativity while youngster Diego Lainez will also be hoping to see more game time.
Key Man – Nabil Fekir
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) August 29, 2020
Nabil Fekir to Betis was one of the surprise transfer stories of last summer and was seen as a major coup for the Seville club at the time. His first campaign at the Benito Villamarin may go down as a mixed affair with some star showings in one or two of the bigger games, but Fekir failed to produce the goods on a consistent basis.
Even so, he was still arguably Betis’ standout performer in a poor season overall and if they are going to build a team around anyone this season, it probably should be Fekir. We have already seen a few examples of why the giants of European football ultimately opted against moving for him but his talent is undisputed and with a better structure around him, he could be the guy to fire Betis up the league.
One to Watch – Diego Lainez
Diego Lainez is another very talented attacking player that Betis have on their books. At the age of just 20, he’s still a raw talent and while he hasn’t quite delivered on his wonder-kid billing yet, there is plenty of time for Lainez to get it right.
Whether that will happen at the Benito Villamarin or not, only time will tell. There has been some speculation that Lainez could leave Betis this summer but Pellegrini appears hungry for him to stay and it could be a ‘make or break’ season for the Mexican in terms of his future in Seville.
Real Betis 2020/21 Targets
Betis may not have brought in any players that will really capture the imagination this summer but if the addition of Claudio Bravo and one or two experienced defenders can help bring a bit of calmness and organisation to their defensive play, then things can improve this season.
In truth, they under-performed last term and with the likes of Sergio Canales, Nabil Fekir and (if he can rediscover his best form) Borja Iglesias, they do have some good attacking players. Rubi tried and failed to find a system and style that really got the best out of all of them, but if the players are willing to buy into Pellegrini’s methods, then at the very least Betis should finish higher up the league, although a European position may be just beyond them.
LLE Prediction: 9th
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