Celtic opponents Real Betis on best home run since 2002
Real Betis haven’t lost at home since February, with Celtic trying their luck this Thursday night.
Imperious at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, only Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao have taken a positive result away from the Green and White section of Seville. In the Copa del Rey, Bilbao came away with a win on spot-kicks. A week later, Barcelona snaffled three points from Betis.
After that, though, it’s been quite the run of form. Atlético Madrid, Valencia and plenty more have been frustrated on their visits.
It leaves Manuel Pellegrini with an impressive record for Los Verdiblancos. Betis have only lost three games this calendar year, and now have their best home record since Juande Ramos’ tenure in 2002 [Marca].
In fact, Pellegrini’s win ratio at Betis has him competing with some all-time greats. Irish player and manager Patrick O’Connell, who played for teams as varied as Manchester United and Dumbarton, won Betis’ only title and racked up a 51.72% win ratio [Marca]. Pellegrini, meanwhile, is on 42.85% at the time of writing.
What does this mean for Celtic? Well, they’re making an away trip to a place that hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for many Spanish teams over the last two seasons. However, the Europa League is a different prospect altogether.
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This is Betis’ first time in Europe’s second-biggest club competition since it changed name from the UEFA Cup. With little continental experience in recent years, the extra exertions may create opportunities for visiting clubs. Namely, Celtic.
Real Betis are an impressive outfit, but Celtic need not fear
None of this is to say Betis are invincible. A lot of those home results over the calendar year dictate that Celtic could at least bag a draw away in Spain.
Given the squad turnover, the freshness at the club and a rigorous schedule, that wouldn’t be a bad result by any means.
However, if anybody was underestimating the Andalusians before, they ought not to. La Liga’s table doesn’t flatter Betis [BBC], and they’ve been pretty slow out the gate, with lots of new faces of their own.
They’re perhaps missing that bit of fluidity, too. New additions like Willian José and Hector Bellerin will surely have a big impact. The Arsenal loanee is already being used to start attacks from right-back.
With the creativity of players like Christian Tello, Sergio Canales and Guido Rodriguez, they’re a threat to score goals. However, recent games have shown that they can be got at on either side, and Postecoglou’s rapid wingers should be able to make opportunities of their own.