Real Betis - Real Madrid Preview: Los Merengues seek sixth straight Liga victory
Jose Mourinho's side travel to Seville knowing they cannot afford to lose any more ground in the title race, with a crucial derby against city rivals Atletico Madrid looming
By Karthick Arvinth
Nelson, Dorado, Amaya, Martinez
Pozuelo, Sevilla, Juan Carlos
Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao
Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo
Real Betis defenders Paulao and Mario will miss Saturday's Primera Division clash with Real Madrid at the Benito Villamarin through injury.
Brazilian Paulao has been ruled out for four weeks after pulling his hamstring in the 5-1 defeat at Sevilla last weekend, while Mario is expected to be on the sidelines for a similar length of time with a calf problem.
Striker Jonathan Pereira (ankle) should be available but midfielder Ruben Perez is suspended after being sent off in the Seville derby.
Mesut Ozil is likely to return to the Real Madrid starting XI after being an unused substitute in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Manchester City.
But striker Gonzalo Higuain is not yet fully fit with a hamstring problem which has kept the Argentine sidelined for the last two weeks.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Real Betis have won just three of their last nine matches in all competitions (W3, D1, L5).
- Los Verdiblancos have lost their last four encounters with Real Madrid with an aggregate score of 5-15.
- Betis' last home Liga win over Real Madrid was a 2-1 success in February 2008.
- Real Madrid have won their last five Liga matches and are unbeaten in their last eight.
- With only nine goals conceded, the Castilian side boast the joint-best defensive record in the Primera Division.
- Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured, right) needs to score three more times to overtake Paco Gento's tally of 126 goals and become the sixth all-time highest goal scorer for Madrid in La Liga.
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Top 3 Predictions
Betis 0-3 Real Madrid CF
- 12.5 %
Betis 0-4 Real Madrid CF
- 10.93 %
Betis 1-3 Real Madrid CF
- 9.48 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Aug 18, 2013||Real Madrid CF 2 - Betis 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Apr 20, 2013||Real Madrid CF 3 - Betis 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Nov 24, 2012||Betis 1 - Real Madrid CF 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Mar 10, 2012||Betis 2 - Real Madrid CF 3|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Oct 15, 2011||Real Madrid CF 4 - Betis 1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Betis 2 - Rayo Vallecano 2||LIGA|
|Nov 28, 2013||Olympique Lyonnais 1 - Betis 0||EL|
|Nov 24, 2013||Sevilla 4 - Betis 0||LIGA|
|Nov 10, 2013||Betis 1 - FC Barcelona 4||LIGA|
|Nov 7, 2013||Vitoria Guimarães 0 - Betis 1||EL|
|22||Ángel Di María||Midfielder|
The 25-year-old midfielder will have the key role of distributing the ball to the forward line and shielding the back four. With Real Madrid likely to dominate possession, Benat - who is reportedly a January transfer target for Manchester City - will be under pressure to cover plenty of ground.
The Portugal captain looked a menace every time he received the ball against Manchester City on Wednesday and was unlucky not to score in the first half. Ronaldo will be keen to get back amongst the goals after netting just once in his last five matches for Madrid.
Real Betis will look to produce a response after the thrashing at the hands of arch-rivals Sevilla, but they need a drastic improvement against Real Madrid, who are clicking into gear splendidly.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed