La Liga Preview: Atletico Madrid v Real Betis
Sunday's early kick-off pits two under-pressure coaches desperately in need of a result against each other, as their teams slide down the standings
By Karthick Arvinth
Perea, Godin, Dominguez, Filipe
Turan, Diego, Adrian
Chica, Ustaritz, Dorado, Nacho
Pozuelo, Benat, Iriney, Juanma
Castro, Santa Cruz
Thibaut Courtois and Mario Suarez are set to be restored to the Atletico Madrid starting line-up after they were rested for the Europa League victory over Rennes.
Under-fire coach Gregorio Manzano could also hand a start to Jose Antonio Reyes in attack as he plots his team's recovery on the domestic front after damaging defeats against Espanyol and Albacete last week. Portuguese international Silvio may be fit and could replace Luis Perea at right-back.
Real Betis's second string were embarrassed by Cordoba in the Copa del Rey in midweek and Pepe Mel will revert to the team that beat Valencia last weekend. Ustaritz is likely retain his spot at the centre of defence, though, at the expense of the injured Pedro Mario, while Ezequiel could miss out with a back injury.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Atletico Madrid have won four of their last six league encounters with Real Betis.
- Colombian ace Radamel Falcao (pictured) is the capital club's leading scorer this season with 12 goals.
- Atletico are yet to lose a game at the Vicente Calderon this season.
- Under-pressure boss Gregorio Manzano has been in charge of the home side since June of this year.
- Real Betis's 2-1 win over Valencia last weekend ended a 10-game winless streak.
- Ruben Castro is the club's top scorer this season with five goals.
- The King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, is an honorary member of the Andalusian club.
- Neither of these sides has a positive goal difference, with Atletico on -2 and Betis on -7.
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Top 3 Predictions
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Betis
- 32.12 %
Atletico Madrid 3-1 Betis
- 11.92 %
Atletico Madrid 2-1 Betis
- 10.36 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Oct 27, 2013||Atletico Madrid 5 - Betis 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Feb 3, 2013||Atletico Madrid 1 - Betis 0|
|Spain - Copa del Rey (ESPC)||Jan 24, 2013||Betis 1 - Atletico Madrid 1|
|Spain - Copa del Rey (ESPC)||Jan 17, 2013||Atletico Madrid 2 - Betis 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Sep 26, 2012||Betis 2 - Atletico Madrid 4|
|Dec 11, 2013||Atletico Madrid 2 - Porto 0||UCL|
|Dec 7, 2013||UE Sant Andreu 0 - Atletico Madrid 4||ESPC|
|Nov 30, 2013||Elche 0 - Atletico Madrid 2||LIGA|
|Nov 26, 2013||Zenit Saint Petersburg 1 - Atletico Madrid 1||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Atletico Madrid 7 - Getafe 0||LIGA|
|9||Roque Santa Cruz||Striker|
|-||Jefferson Antonio Montero||Midfielder|
The Colombian international has made an immediate impact in La Liga since his €40 million transfer from Porto and his goal-poaching instincts will be key for Atletico as they attempt to get their season back on track.
The 24-year-old midfielder - reportedly being closely watched by Juventus - is Betis' string-puller in midfield, who also likes to go forward. Betis will be looking to him and Iriney to orchestrate their play at the Vicente Calderon.
Both teams like to play attacking football, meaning we could see plenty of goals, but being at home gives Atletico the advantage and they should be able to get the result they need to ease the pressure on Manzano.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed