Barcelona vs Real Betis: Match Odds, Betting Tips & Predictions

Martin Green

Thursday, August 22, 2019 10:36 AM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 10:36 AM UTC

Can Messi return to save the day?
<div><div><div><div id=":p5"><div id=":nn"><div dir="ltr"><h2>Barcelona v Real Betis</h2><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><strong>Sunday, August 25, at Camp Nou</strong></a></p><p>Barcelona will hope to welcome Lionel Messi back to the starting 11 when they host Real Betis at the Nou Camp on Sunday. The Argentinean superstar missed Barca’s opener through injury and he could only watch on as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Athletic Bilbao. Both Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele limped off during that game, presenting Ernesto Valverde with an early season injury crisis. Yet Messi returned to training this week and he could lead his team into battle on Sunday.</p><p>Real Betis also suffered a miserable start to the campaign as they lost 2-1 at home to a Valladolid side that are tipped for relegation. They had Joel Robles sent off after just eight minutes, and playing with 10 men eventually took its toll as they conceded twice late on. They won 4-3 on their last trip to the Nou Camp, and that could inspire them to another great performance on Sunday. It was their first victory over Barcelona in a decade. However, Barca gained sweet revenge by beating Betis 4-1 in Seville later in the season and they have dominated the head-to-head meetings in recent years.</p><p><a href=";a=9feaaf7a-d7a2-4185-974a-81ad171951df&amp;f=3" target="_blank"><img alt src="" style="width:100%" /></a></p><h2>Team News</h2><p>The biggest headache for Valvede is in attack. Suarez, Dembele and new signing Antoine Griezmann started up front in the game against Athletic Bilbao, but Dembele is now out for five weeks and Suarez has been sidelined until September. Barcelona have just offloaded Philippe Coutinho to Bayern Munich, and they are no closer to re-signing Neymar, leaving Valverde with a dearth of forwards at his disposal. They desperately need Messi to return to action, as he could form a dangerous trio with Griezmann and Rafinha.</p><p>New arrival Frenkie de Jong looks composed in midfield, and Valverde will have to decide whether to reinstate Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic alongside him or persist with the younger legs of Sergi Roberto and Carles Alena. Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet should continue to anchor the defence, with Samuel Umtiti left on the bench.</p><p>Betis lost key playmaker Giovani Lo Celso this summer as he moved to Tottenham on loan, but they made some intriguing signings. Nabil Fekir joined from Lyon and Borja Iglesias was a €27 million arrival from Espanyol and both men went straight into the team against Valladolid. Former Barcelona forward Christian Tello and veteran Joaquin provide plenty of dynamism out wide, and that looks like a formidable front four. Betis could enjoy a strong season, as the starting 11 is full of talent, but the Nou Camp is a tough place to visit. If Messi starts, Barcelona should win this one.</p><p><strong>Tip: <a href=";a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18&amp;f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Bet365">Barcelona -1.5 Asian handicap at 1.72 (29/40) with Bet365</a></strong></p></div></div></div></div></div></div>
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