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Primera División

  • November 10, 2013
  • • 3:00 PM
  • • Estadio Benito Villamarín, Sevilla
  • Referee: José Luis González González
  • • Attendance: 45000
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La Liga Preview: Real Betis - Barcelona

La Liga Preview: Real Betis - Barcelona

The champions will be keen to consolidate their place at the top of the table before the international break against a side who have not beaten them in four attempts

Barcelona will look to stretch its unbeaten record in La Liga to 25 matches when it faces Real Betis on Sunday.

The league leader has not lost since a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in March and it is the only side still unbeaten after the opening 12 matches of this season.

Things are not quite so positive for Betis, which is languishing in the bottom three in the table and has not won in five league games.

However, its triumph over Vitoria Guimaraes in the Europa League on Thursday will give it a boost heading into the clash with Barca.

Chuli's last-minute winner in Portugal lifted a little bit of the pressure on coach Pepe Mel, but recording back-to-back victories will be a tall order.

Betis has not beaten Barca in its last four attempts and the Catalan side has won 20 of the previous 36 clashes.

That record makes midfielder Xavi confident of going into the international break with another victory.

"It is important to finish this cycle of seven or eight games between La Liga and the Champions League well," he said. "The balance is positive and I think that we have proven to be excellent in terms of the results, but we can be improved at a collective level. Even so, we are on a good line.

"We are at a good level and we know the demands for Barca."

Carles Puyol and Marc Bartra are expected to start together in central defense for the second time in three league matches as Gerardo Martino looks to rest Javier Mascherano, while Gerard Pique continues to struggle with a groin injury.

Jordi Alba is still unavailable with a hamstring injury, while Jonathan dos Santos and Ibrahim Afellay are long-term absentees with knee problems.

Betis, meanwhile, has eight players unavailable, including Damien Perquis (broken jaw) and Juanfran (hamstring).

However, Paulao and Antonio Amaya both returned to training this week and could be involved, while Javi Chica is back from suspension.

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Last Five Matches
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Available Squads
13Guillermo SaraGoalkeeper
33Markus SteinhöferMidfielder
23NachoMidfielder
25Jordi FiguerasDefender
36José CaroDefender
-Xavi TorresMidfielder
7VadilloStriker
8NonoStriker
10VerdúMidfielder
26Juan CarlosMidfielder
19Jorge MolinaStriker
30S. AndersenGoalkeeper
4AmayaDefender
12Dídac VilàDefender
5MatillaMidfielder
22CedricMidfielder
-ChuliStriker
16B. RodríguezStriker
1Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
2MontoyaDefender
5Carles PuyolDefender
15BartraDefender
22Daniel AlvesDefender
4Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
6XaviMidfielder
17Alex SongMidfielder
7PedroStriker
10Lionel MessiStriker
11NeymarStriker
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
21AdrianoDefender
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
24Sergi RobertoMidfielder
9Alexis SánchezStriker
20TelloStriker

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