Real Betis travel to Real Sociedad on Saturday aiming to put a disappointing start to the new La Liga season firmly behind them.
Betis head into the game 16th in the standings after picking up just nine points from their opening eight matches this term.
With a new head coach and new shirt sponsor in place, hopes were high that the club would enjoy a successful campaign but things haven’t worked out that way just yet.
Read on as we assess the latest state of play at Real Betis.
Betis off to a sticky start
Betis started the season with successive defeats against Valladolid and Barcelona, but results have improved a little since then.
Rubi’s side pieced together a four game unbeaten run before getting a huge reality check with a 5-1 defeat at Villarreal.
A 1-1 home draw with Eibar was a big disappointment and left Betis just a couple of points above the relegation zone, with football news outlets like Sportslens and The Guardian predicting a tough relegation battle if results don’t improve.
Injuries to key players certainly haven’t helped Betis during the early part of the season and they will be hoping for better luck in this department over the coming weeks.
Fekir has a point to prove
Nabil Fekir’s £17.75 million move from Lyon to Betis this summer raised plenty of eyebrows, particularly after he had been heavily linked with a big money move to the Premier League.
Recent suggestions that Fekir’s proposed transfer to Liverpool fell through because Jurgen Klopp was doubtful about his ‘entourage’ (backed up by Fekir’s agent) may actually prove to be a blessing in disguise for Betis.
The playmaker bagged two goals in his first five appearances for the club, but an injury sustained at Osasuna kept him out of the next two matches.
He returned to action off the bench against Eibar and could well be fired up to prove Klopp wrong as the season progresses, while it was even linked with a move to Real Madrid earlier this month.
Tough test awaits at Real Madrid
Although Real Madrid are not firing on all cylinders, a visit to the Santiago Bernabéu is a daunting prospect for any team, particularly Real Betis, as the green and whites are yet to win away this season.
Betis have conceded an average of 2.8 goals per game when playing away from home, compared to scoring less then 1 goal per game away. Real Madrid also have a superior head to head record against Betis, so the stats are certainly in Real Madrid’s favour.
However, with players like Fekir, in theory Betis still possess enough talent to potentially cause Real Madrid problems. It’s probable that Betis’s current position is also not a true reflection of their squad’s strength, and they will certainly be looking to demonstrate this with a result against Real Madrid.