Athletic Club vs Real Betis predictions and match preview for Thursday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for analysis, team news and predicted lineups as two European hopefuls clash at San Mames.
|Thursday 4th May 2023
Athletic Club vs Real Betis Preview
Matchday 33 and what has been an incredibly busy period in LaLiga concludes at San Mames with a key game in the race for European places. 7th placed Athletic Club trail 6th placed Real Betis by just 2 points heading into this and the hosts would move into strong Europa League contention with a victory.
Athletic have already missed a couple of good chances to climb into the top six. They were beaten 1-0 in a drab game against Sevilla in their most recent outing in Bilbao, before a 1-1 draw at Mallorca earlier this week. That was a pretty good outcome in the end with Inaki Williams converting a 96th minute penalty to continue his hot streak in front of goal.
Both of these sides will have one eye on this weekend’s Copa del Rey Final as the outcome will have a big impact on which league positions grant European qualification. Assuming Real Madrid win the cup, 7th would be enough for Conference League football but both will be ideally targeting the Europa League. Athletic haven’t qualified for Europe since the 2016/17 season, their final campaign of Ernesto Valverde’s second spell in Bilbao, so returning Athletic to the continental stage at the first time of asking would certainly represent a positive return for Valverde.
Having qualified for the Europa League in each of the last two seasons, even dropping down into the Conference League would feel slightly disappointing for Real Betis. That’s a measure of the standards they have set under Manuel Pellegrini to a large extent, although it is true that their form since the World Cup break has been a little bit concerning.
It’s 7 wins and 7 defeats over that period in LaLiga for Betis and there are a number of statistics which appear to show a drop-off in their overall level this season. One is simply the reduction in the number of goals they are scoring with their tally of 39, the lowest in the top eight. Their ill discipline is also clearly a major issue with a 13th red card of the season sparking a 4-0 collapse against Barcelona at the weekend.
Team News & Possible Lineups
|Muniain, Morcillo, Capa
Possible XI: Simon – Yuri, Vivian, Yeray, De Marcos – Dani Garcia, Vesga, – N. Williams, Sancet, I. Williams – Guruzeta (4-2-3-1)
Coach: Ernesto Valverde
|Fekir, Joaquin, Luiz Felipe
|Victor Ruiz, Iglesias, Sabaly
Possible XI: Silva – Miranda, Guido Rodriguez, Pezzella, Ruibal – Carvalho, Guardado – Canales, Rodri, Henrique – Ayoze (4-2-3-1)
Coach: Manuel Pellegrini
Score Prediction: Athletic Club 2-0 Real Betis
This is a key game between two relatively strong teams, although in both cases ones with some fairly obvious flaws. Athletic’s overall form has been a bit better of late though and a big San Mames crowd should be a significant help on a night like this that will go a long way to determining whether or not they return to the European stage.
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