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2 vs 2
Played
May 12, 2012 9:00 PM BST
Estadio Benito Villamarín — Sevilla
Referee:‬ Miguel Ayza‎
Attendance:‬ 37000‎
 

Real Betis - Barcelona Preview: Catalan giants looking to end Liga season on a high

Pep Guardiola's side travel to the Benito Villamarin on Saturday with Lionel Messi vying to clinch the Pichichi award having scored an unprecedented 50 league goals this season

By Karthick Arvinth

Leo Messi, Pep Guardiola - FC Barcelona
Getty Images
  PROBABLE LINEUPS

REAL BETIS

Casto
Chica, Paulao, Dorado, Nacho
Pozuelo, Benat, Canas, Montero
Castro, Santa Cruz

BARCELONA

Pinto
Montoya, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano
Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas
Pedro, Messi, Cuenca


Real Betis forward Roque Santa Cruz has shaken off a knock and is available for the La Liga encounter with Barcelona.

Captain Iriney and defender Nelson (both ankle) are doubts, while Javier Matilla, Mario and Juanma are all sidelined.

Chechu Dorado, Benat and Jose Canas should all make returns to the starting line-up after missing Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Sporting Gijon due to suspension.

Barcelona duo Gerard Pique and Isaac Cuenca are both fit to play after recovering from concussion and a bruised ankle respectively, but Alexis Sanchez misses out with a thigh injury.

Seydou Keita (calf) is a doubt, while captain Carles Puyol will undergo surgery on Saturday to correct a knee problem, which is expected to rule him out of action for six weeks.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Real Betis are on a five-match unbeaten run at the Benito Villamarin since losing 3-2 to Real Madrid.
  • Los Verdiblancos have avoided defeat in their last four home meetings with Barcelona (W2, D2).
  • Twelfth-placed Betis can finish above bitter rivals Sevilla in the league table if they win on Saturday and Michel's side lose at Espanyol.
  • Barcelona have won their last seven away matches in La Liga since losing 3-2 at Osasuna in February.
  • The Catalans have had more possession than their opponents in all 245 official games since Pep Guardiola became coach in 2008.


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Reader's Predictions
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
13CastoGoalkeeper
5DoradoDefender
3PaulaoDefender
2ChicaDefender
23NachoMidfielder
7BeñatMidfielder
21José CañasStriker
24PozueloMidfielder
23Jonathan PereiraStriker
-Jefferson Antonio MonteroMidfielder
24Rubén CastroStriker
30Fabricio Agosto RamírezGoalkeeper
2IsidoroDefender
-SúperMidfielder
8NonoStriker
39Sergio Midfielder
9Roque Santa CruzStriker
19Jorge MolinaStriker
1Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
22Daniel AlvesDefender
3PiquéDefender
21AdrianoDefender
6XaviMidfielder
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
-Seydou KeitaMidfielder
16BusquetsMidfielder
19Ibrahim AfellayMidfielder
10Lionel MessiStriker
7PedroStriker
25OierGoalkeeper
15BartraDefender
2MontoyaDefender
4Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
23CuencaStriker
20TelloStriker
Players to Watch
Beñat
Beñat
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
21 1 3 0
The midfielder has been one of the standout performers for Betis this campaign and netted both goals in the club's 2-1 victory over city rivals Sevilla last week. The 25-year-old's free kicks and pinpoint long range passing will be key in unlocking the Blaugrana defence.
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
27 26 1 0
Barcelona may have conceded the league crown to Real Madrid, but they can find some small solace by helping the Argentine win the race for La Liga's top scorer title. Already the undisputed all-time top scorer in a single European season with 72 goals, the 24-year-old has netted five more times in the league than rival Cristiano Ronaldo going into the final round of fixtures.
Prediction
The Benito Villamarin has been a bit of a bogey ground for Barca in recent years, but the Catalans will be keen to entertain one last time and make sure Guardiola's last Liga match as Blaugrana boss ends on a positive note.
Editor's Prediction
Betis 1
Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
28 6
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Striker
Atlético Madrid
27 5
Lionel Messi Lionel Messi
Striker
Barcelona
26 6
Karim Benzema Karim Benzema
Striker
Real Madrid
17 0
Alexis Sánchez Alexis Sánchez
Striker
Barcelona
17 0