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Match Preview – Betis vs Barcelona: Can the Andalusians end their losing streak?

Match Preview - Betis vs Barcelona: Can the Andalusians end their losing streak?

Betis ended their six-game winless streak (3 draws, 3 losses) with a 1-0 win over Granada last weekend, keeping their hopes alive of a top-six finish. However, the task will be difficult for the Andalusians, who have struggled for consistency this season, recording only one instance of consecutive wins in La Liga, even though their low number of defeats (three) suggests they are difficult to dominate.

Playing at the Benito Villamarín Stadium may give them their best chance of winning two consecutive matches, as Betis are unbeaten at home in the league this season (6 wins, 4 draws). With nine goals scored in the second half at home this season, more than double the number scored before the break (four), expect a strong performance after the break.

However, their home unbeaten run could be put to the test by Barcelona, who won the reverse fixture 5-0 for a ninth win in the last ten league meetings (1 draw). The Catalans come into the game off the back of a 3-1 win over Unionistas de Salamanca, a third-division side, in the Copa del Rey, which remains their only realistic chance of winning a trophy this season after their defeat to Real Madrid in the Super Cup final and their regression in La Liga.

Inconsistency is largely to blame for this decline, as Barcelona have not won more than two league matches in a row since the end of September (7 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses), which they can change by winning here. This current run has been preceded by a run of five consecutive wins, including the reverse fixture, which should give Barcelona confidence of extending their winning streak in this fixture to seven in a row in La Liga.

Key battle: Isco, who has been involved in the action in his last five matches (1 goal, 2 assists, 3 yellow cards), could play a crucial role given the number of injuries affecting Betis. He could be tested by Jules Koundé, who has scored and assisted the last two Barcelona goals in competition, but he has a bad memory of his last visit to this ground, when he scored an own goal in a 2-1 win last season.

Hot stat: Each of Barcelona’s last eight league wins have been by a one-goal margin, as have their last four wins here.

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