FC Barcelona (1st, 24pts) vs Real Betis (15th, 13pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Saturday
Competition/Round: 2018-19 La Liga, Matchday 12
Barcelona Outs and Doubts: Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembélé, Sergi Samper, Thomas Vermaelen (out)
Real Betis Outs and Doubts: Javi García (out), Francis (doubt)
Date/Time: Sunday, November 11, 2018, 4.15pm CET (Barcelona & Nigeria), 3.15pm GMT (UK), 10.15am ET, 7.15am PT (USA), 8.45pm IST (India)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (oh boy)
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Eleven Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India), others
How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), others
After sealing qualification to the knockout rounds of the Champions League and stay unbeaten since the injury to Lionel Messi, Barcelona are back in La Liga action with what promises to be a difficult game against Real Betis. Don’t let their position and number points fool you: this is a good team, with good players and a great coach.
But Barça will have Lionel Messi back, certainly looking forward to play against after missing three weeks with a broken arm. The club captain will most likely start and will be hungry for goals, and against a poor defense he’s certainly ready to score again. If Barça are able to defend better than they did in their last league game against Rayo Vallecano, and if their attack continues to be as potent as it’s been recently, they should be able to get the job done.
But they cannot take the game for granted. Betis can play great football if they’re allowed to do so, and Barça need to take control of the match from the first minute. If they do, they’ll be able to enter another international break as the league leaders.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Vidal, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Suárez, Malcom
Real Betis (3-4-3): Pau López; Mandi, Bartra, Sidnei; Barragán, William, Guardado, Firpo; Canales, Lorén, Lo Celso
As fun as they are to watch, Betis are just not good defensively, and we’re on a good attacking moment: 3-1 Barça.