15th place Real Betis will face the challenge of 3rd placed Real Madrid at the Benito Vilamarin tonight in the La Liga. Both the teams have been affected by a bad run of form in which the Los Blancos were held at home to minnows Eibar and dropped points for their fourth consecutive match in all competitions and Betis have been infuriatingly inconsistent with winning twice and losing twice and drawing the other in their last 5 matches.
Before the international break, the hosts suffered a loss to Sociedad away from home and Gus Poyet will be hoping to get something out of the game considering the fact that Zidane’s men are winless in their last four.
Real Madrid would be without the trio of Casemiro, Luka Modric and James Rodriguez again as they stay sidelined due to their injuries. The bad news for Zidane during the international break was the injury to his captain Sergio Ramos, who strained his knee while playing for Spain and is expected to be out until November. However, left-back Marcelo is fit and available after his calf strain and can feature in the tie.
Real Betis do not have any injury problems and manager Gus Poyet is expected to field the same starting eleven which took to the field against Real Sociedad.
Real Betis (4-3-3): Adan; Martinez, Pezzella, Cabrera, Piccini; Gutierrez, Petros, Ceballos; Castro, Alegria, Joaquin.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Keylor Navas; Marcelo, Pepe, Varane, Carvajal; Kovačić, Kroos, Isco; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo
For Real Madrid, the trio of Marcelo, Isco, and Mateo Kovačić will be key for the game. Marcelo’s absence was felt deeply when he went out, and both Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo will be excited to have him back to help push the ball forward. It is expected that Isco and Kovačić are likely to occupy the slots in the midfield alongside the mercurial Toni Kroos. It would result in a midfield very capable of not only passing into the attacking third, but also dribbling into the opposition box when required.
For Real Betis, there is only one player who qualifies to get to the level where he can be categorised as the key against any opposition and that player is the veteran, Ruben Castro. No player in La Liga has accounted for as many of his team’s total goals than the striker and has scored 4 out of the 8 goals scored by his side.
A win for the visitors is priced at 2/5 while for the hosts it is given at 6/1. A draw is rated at 4/1. (SkyBet)