The La Liga season resumes on Thursday as Sevilla and Real Betis go head-to-head in the latest edition of ‘El Gran Derbi’, and you can watch the game online or on beIN in the US, LaLigaTV in the UK.
There is little love lost between the two clubs and the fixture is undoubtedly a great way to get the campaign back underway.
Betis will be eager to upset the odds at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, particularly with Sevilla in the running to claim a top four spot.
Read on as we take a look at Betis’ hopes of picking up three points and assess some of the other main talking points from around La Liga.
Sevilla a tough nut to crack at home
Sevilla are historically tough to beat on their own patch and that has certainly been the case during the current league season.
They have won six and drawn five of their 13 outings this term and will fancy their chances of enhancing that record against their local rivals.
Sevilla triumphed in the reverse fixture back in November, with Luuk de Jong’s left-footed strike in the 55th minute sealing a 2-1 victory.
Julen Lopetegui’s side have lost just two of their last 11 matches in all competitions and will be tough to beat on Thursday.
Betis eager to kick-on after Madrid win
Big things were expected of Betis at the start of the season.
However, they have endured a topsy-turvy campaign and are currently 12th in the standings with 11 games remaining.
Rubi’s team belied their league position in their most recent match, with goals by Sidnei and Cristian Tello securing a memorable 2-1 victory over Real Madrid.
Betis will be hoping that result will be the catalyst for a strong end to the season as they strive to finish in the top half of the table for a third consecutive year.
Madrid cannot afford any more slip-ups
The defeat at Betis left Madrid two points behind Barcelona and they can ill-afford any more slip-ups between now and the end of the season.
The home game against Eibar on Sunday should yield three points, although playing at the 6,000 capacity Alfredo di Stefano Stadium might improve the visitors’ chances of springing a surprise.
Reconstruction work at the Bernabeu Stadium has led to the temporary move and Eibar’s assignment is perhaps less daunting than would normally be the case.
With fixtures against Valencia (H) and Real Sociedad (A) to follow, Madrid will have to be at their best if they are to keep tabs on Barca.
Barca on course to make it three-in-a-row
Barca replaced Madrid at the top of the La Liga standings with a 1-0 victory over Sociedad in the last round of matches.
Lionel Messi’s late penalty proved to be the difference between the two sides and the result could prove to be pivotal in this season’s title race.
Barca will have a golden opportunity to crank up the pressure on Madrid as they face relegation-threatened RCD Mallorca (A) and Leganes (H) in their next two matches.
The reigning champions haven’t quite been at their brilliant best during the current campaign, but are fancied to claim their third successive title.