Monday’s La Liga preview: 2012/13 – round 20 – Real Betis v Athletic Bilbao

16 Jan

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Real Betis (4th) v Athletic Bilbao (14th)

With on-loan speedster Joel Campbell opening the scoring after being set up by Ruben Castro, Betis defeated Levante 2-0 in Seville last weekend. Castro himself, to my delight, scored the second.

In a first leg quarter final tie, Pepe Mel’s Betis also played midweek in the Copa del Rey – losing 2-0 away to Atletico Madrid. Betis had enough clear cut chances to score, but a combination of good goalkeeping, bad luck and poor finishing allowed a content Atelti to run out the clock and take a two goal cushion to Seville for the second leg.

Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao lost 2-1 at home to the in-form Rayo last weekend. Having backed Rayo with a half goal start I didn’t find this to be a surprising result, but it is quite sad watching Athletic lose at home on what is becoming a regular basis –a fortress San Mames is not this season.

In conclusion, you’d expect Betis to win this match and they probably will, but as Athletic have scored in their last six La Liga road games and factoring in that Betis have played an extra game midweek, I think that over 2.5 goals is the best bet here.

Besides, Betis – as we’ve seen against sides like Granada and Mallorca – are perfectly capable of losing to lesser teams at home. Though extremely unlikely, I sincerely hope that we see another eight goal thriller like the reverse fixture in round one – which Betis won 5-3!

Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals (1.85)

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