Barcelona will be looking to bounce back from Thursday’s Copa del Rey disappointment when they travel to Real Betis in La Liga this night.
The Spanish champions are currently second in the table, three points off leaders Real Madrid, while Betis occupy 12th position with 28 points to show from their 22 fixtures.
It would be fair to say that there will be plenty of eyes on Barca during the 90 minutes, but Betis will not exactly enter the match in the best of form having won just one of their last six in the league.
Indeed, having collected just six points since December 8, the Seville outfit have dropped into 12th position in the table, some six points behind seventh-placed Villarreal.
Betis actually finished sixth in 2017-18 but only claimed 10th last term and have struggled for consistency during the current season. Today will certainly be a special occasion for now Barca boss Quique Setien as he returns to the club that he left in May 2019.
Setien led the team to the Europa League during his first season at the helm but will not be in the mood to hand out any favours today night due to his current side’s predicament.
Betis beat Barca 4-3 when they travelled to Camp Nou in November 2018, but they have not actually overcome the Catalan giants in a home La Liga fixture since March 2008.
The Spanish champions suffered a 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey on Thursday, and it has been a turbulent week considering that Lionel Messi hit back at Eric Abidal on social media in response to the sporting director’s criticism of the players.
Messi himself is currently being linked with a move away, and it would be hugely damaging for the club if they were to lose the Argentine at the end of the campaign.
Ousmane Dembele’s latest hamstring issue is expected to see the Frenchman miss the remainder of the season, meanwhile, leaving Barca desperately short in attack as Luis Suarez is also absent.
The Catalan giants are allegedly attempting to bring an emergency signing to the club, and Betis forward Loren Moron is the latest player to be linked with a potential move.
Barca suffered a 2-0 loss at Valencia in their last away La Liga match on January 25, although they did manage to pick up three huge points at home to Levante last weekend.
Real Madrid will have the chance to open up a six-point advantage at the summit on Sunday afternoon, though, and there is simply no downplaying the importance of this particular match in Seville.