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FC Barcelona News: 21 January 2018; Samuel Umtiti Returns to Fitness as Barcelona Take on Real Betis

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Valencia v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Match Preview: Real Betis v FC Barcelona | FC Barcelona
Barça have only lost twice to Betis in the League since 2004, both defeats coming in Andalusia. In the last 10 meetings home and away, the Blaugrana have won eight and drawn the other two, one of which came in the meeting last season.

Umtiti declared fit and back in squad to face Betis | FC Barcelona
La Liga is back. And Samuel Umtiti is back too! The French centre back has been declared fit and included in the 18-strong squad that will leave for Seville on a 10.30am CET flight Sunday to face Real Betis in the evening. Gerard Deulofeu is called back up for duty, and Ernesto Valverde has also made room for Carles Aleñá of Barça B.

Ernesto Valverde expects tough test against ‘valiant’ Betis | FC Barcelona
“Betis like to get the ball into the opposition’s half, and try to dominate possession. So one of the keys to the game will be dealing with the pressure that they create. They are a brave team that likes to keep hold of the ball. They play good, attacking football. Their recent results have been a boost for their morale, especially the win against Sevilla. It’s going to be an interesting, difficult encounter.”

Philippe Coutinho’s Barcelona debut could be on Thursday, Ernesto Valverde reveals | FC Barcelona
Barcelona finally brought one of the biggest transfer sagas of the past year to an end earlier this month after agreeing to pay a club-record £146m fee to Liverpool for the Brazilian playmaker. A thigh injury sustained prior to his move has kept Coutinho sidelined, but he could make his Barcelona bow against the club for whom he featured 16 times while on loan from Inter Milan for a few months in 2012.

RIVAL WATCH: Chance for Barça to extend Liga lead after Atlético are held by Girona | FC Barcelona
Barça were already a massive nine points clear at the top of the Liga table going into this weekend’s matches. But that lead could be stretched to eleven with a win against Real Betis on Sunday night (8.45pm CET). And that’s because second placed Atlético Madrid could only draw at home to the season’s surprise package Girona on Saturday. Antoine Griezmann put the colchoneros a goal to the good, but Cristian Portu drew level after the break.