Barcelona-Betis Preview: Humbled hosts seek return to winning ways
Tito Vilanova's side will look to recover from their Champions League hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich with victory over the Verdiblancos on Sunday
By Karthick Arvinth
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is doubtful to start against Betis at Camp Nou as he continues to cope with a hamstring injury.
Defender Eric Abidal (calf) and midfielder Sergio Busquets (groin) should be available but Cesc Fabregas is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season in the 2-2 draw against Athletic Bilbao.
Betis midfielder Eder Vilarchao is available to play his first game after a three-month lay-off with a tibia injury.
Casto (knee), Paulao (hamstring), Damien Perquis (calf), Nacho and Jose Canas (both suspension) are all sidelined, while midfielder Benat (back) and Nosa Igiebor (groin) are minor doubts.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Barcelona are on a three-match winless run in all competitions, losing two.
- The Catalan side's 7-0 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich was their heaviest two-legged defeat in European competition.
- Lionel Messi (pictured, right) has scored in his last 20 Liga appearances for Barcelona.
- Betis have won just one of their last six matches in La Liga (W1, D3, L2).
- Betis' last Liga win at Camp Nou was a 3-1 triumph in May 1998.
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Top 3 Predictions
FC Barcelona 5-0 Betis
- 11.56 %
FC Barcelona 3-1 Betis
- 9.7 %
FC Barcelona 3-0 Betis
- 8.41 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Apr 5, 2014||FC Barcelona 3 - Betis 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Nov 10, 2013||Betis 1 - FC Barcelona 4|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||May 5, 2013||FC Barcelona 4 - Betis 2|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Dec 9, 2012||Betis 1 - FC Barcelona 2|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||May 12, 2012||Betis 2 - FC Barcelona 2|
|Apr 16, 2014||FC Barcelona 1 - Real Madrid CF 2||ESPC|
|Apr 12, 2014||Granada 1 - FC Barcelona 0||LIGA|
|Apr 9, 2014||Atletico Madrid 1 - FC Barcelona 0||UCL|
|Apr 5, 2014||FC Barcelona 3 - Betis 1||LIGA|
|Apr 1, 2014||FC Barcelona 1 - Atletico Madrid 1||UCL|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|-||Adrián San Miguel Del Castillo||Goalkeeper|
|30||Fabricio Agosto Ramírez||Goalkeeper|
|Andrés Iniesta Luján|
The Spain midfielder could not inspire a comeback against Bayern Munich as Barcelona suffered their biggest home defeat in Europe since a 4-0 loss to Dynamo Kiev in 1997. Iniesta will be out to banish the memory of Barca's Champions League humiliation and help clinch the club's fourth Liga title in five years.
The 31-year-old striker is Real Betis' top scorer this season but has failed to find the net in his last two matches for the club. Castro will look to get back amongst the goals at Camp Nou against a Barcelona side that has conceded nine goals in its last three outings.
Barca boss Vilanova will demand a response after getting thoroughly outclassed in Europe and they should return to winning ways against a weakened Betis outfit.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed