La Liga | Real Betis | Spanish Football

Kicked up the arse by Granada ahead of Seville Derby

Just before the game last Friday I tweeted about how it would be the first of three consecutive Andalucian derbies for Betis and how I spelled a hat-trick.

Of course I meant a hat-trick of victories; starting with Granada, finishing with Málaga and stuffed in the middle with Seville. I did not in my wildest Betis imagination, even taking into account that Betis can be highly erratic and difficult to predict, envisage being 3-0 down to the leagues second worst offensive outfit!

It was around this time, luckily, that I had other matters to attend to on my Friday evening…

It got worse and the team were 4-0 by the 65th minute, by which point Granada had increased their home goal tally by 50% to a grand total of 12, and leaving Betis throughly, throughly embarrassed. Oh and Nahuel got sent off too for a pathetic slap to face on Manchester United loanee Andreas Pereira. Fair play to Nahuel, that’s the most he’s ever done in a Betis shirt.

Petros did manage to grab a consolation to increase our own goal tally to 22 in 22, the third worst in the division.

To sum up: atrocious defending and shit attacking – not a great formula to entertain supporters nor win games.

Verdiblanco manager Víctor was so disgusted that he made the players stand in-front of the away contingent after the game to basically be abused. After fans had vented their anger the mood slowly began to change and true manquepierda was shown as the fans broke out into the club anthem, Himno del Betis. Good move from Víctor in my book.

Betis players after Granada defeat

Players after the embarrassment at Granada

On a brighter note, it is just one game and it could give the players the kick up the arse they need ahead of Saturday’s game against high-flying, free-scoring, flavour-of-the-month Sevilla. If this defeat doesn’t, I don’t know what will. This game isn’t make or break and beating our eternal rivals isn’t all of a sudden going to make this season a success but we need a spark which I hope will kick start a bit of a rally for the last third of the season.

On a further brighter note, Betis are a different entity at home, where we’ve collected 18 out of our 24 la liga points this season. Unlike last year where they were shocking, Seville are more than capable of picking up three points on the road, with six wins out of 12. I’m hoping the Seville players are going to be a little worn out after their 2-1 win against Leicester in the Champions League at the Sánchez Pizjuán, but it probably goes without saying that Jorge Sampaoli will have them fired up by the time the players walk out onto the hallowed turf of the Benito Villamarín.

Betis vs Seville Team News

Big news for Betis is that midfield canterano Dani Ceballos limped out of training early this week after injuring his left knee. Medical team have said that he’s got “a lot of soft tissue inflammation.” Doesn’t sound promising and I don’t think he’ll be playing, plus if he does he certainly won’t be 100%.

Ryan Donk has returned to training but José Carlos, Rafa Navarro and Joaquín are still not ready, although taking part in recuperation activity aside from the main group. I think we are dearly missing Don Joaquín and his personality both on and off the pitch. He is the biggest character at the club, one of the biggest characters in Spanish football, and Betis are severely lacking character in recent times.

Sevilla are pretty much full strength. We all know they have players who can cause damage such as Samir Nasri, Stefan Jovetic and Sarabia, with the latter two looking particularly impressive against Leicester. I do sometimes wonder whether Torrecilla got mixed up when he signed Sanabria instead of Sarabia…

Anyway, Heliopolis is going to be bouncing come mid afternoon on Saturday where passion and guts will count double over quality. Let’s hope the players in green and white show the fight the fans want to see.

Green & White Celtic Hoops For Día de Andalucía

Betis are to wear a specially commissioned green and white hooped shirt for the game against Málaga on 28th February to celebrate Andalucía Day, and also in a nod to their Celtic-based origins.

Los Verdiblancos will travel east to, quite fittingly, take on their Andalucian rivals in a game that will not only be remembered for the 5-0 thumping I’m envisioning we give to los boquerones. The game against Málaga will mark the end of a triple header for Betis against Andalucian opposition after taking on Granada and Sevilla in the two games before.

The Real Betis marketing team have had their thinking caps on after pulling a similar stunt last season against Granada, but for a different cause. On this occasion the team sported pink and green stripes for Women’s Day. It’s expected the special hooped verdiblanco shirt will be available to buy from the official Betis shop.

Homage to Celtic

celtic green and white betis

Not only do the green and white hoops represent Día de Andalucía but also pay respect to the very start of the inseparable association of green and white with Real Betis. As I write about in the history of Real Betis, the club initially played in green and black until Manuel Ramos Asensio brought over a green and white kit in the early 1910s after being generously donated by Glasgow Celtic.

I think this is a great touch from the club who finally seem to be moving into the 21st century and thinking a little outside the box. It remains to be added that we have sought the approval from La Liga who will kindly allow the special kit to be used.

The club’s official Twitter feed released a few images today of the new kit and I must say, it’s looking very smart indeed!

real betis shirt for dia de andalucia

betis kit andalucia day

betis badge dia de andalucia


Talking about 21st century, the new Gol Sur stand is actually taking shape and the first connections have been made to attach it to the rest of the stadium. El Benito Villamarín will be a cauldron of noise when this is completed.

gol sur stand betis

Rubén Pardo & Alin Tosca join the ranks in time for Barcelona

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. With this wise, old owl I wouldn’t have sat down for two hours last Sunday evening to watch Betis play Sporting Gijón. Alas, due to my inability to look into the future, I did sit down and watch a dire match that ended 0-0.

It was in stark contrast to another match I watched that day which involved our intra-city rivals. That game was entertaining, exciting and packed with goals, seven to be precise, as Sevilla ran out 4-3 winners away to Osasuna.

Time to up our game Betis.

As part of that plan for upping said game, Víctor and Torrecilla have combined brains to complete two signings this week.

First of all we welcome talented central midfielder Rubén Pardo. The 24 year old from Logroño, La Rioja, is welcomed with open arms as we desperately need someone to pull the strings in the middle of the park, dictate play and create chances.

ruben pardo real betis sociedad

With Eusebio Sacristán in charge at Real Sociedad, Pardo wasn’t getting much of a look in despite featuring heavily in other campaigns. He’s a talented lad and has represented Spain at every level after from the senior team. He’s only played 240 minutes since August so he’s likely to be a little rusty but I’m hoping he can play a big part in the short time he’ll be at Betis, having only arrived on a loan deal until the end of the season.

Joining Pardo this January is Alin Tosca. Who you may ask…

Tosca is Romanian international who plies his trade in the centre of defence. The 24 year old has signed a permanent four and a half year contract from Steaua Bucharest. Sporting Director Torrecilla has commented that Tosca is an adaptable player and can play as one of three central defenders or in “other positions”.

The two players have managed to have a couple of training sessions with the first team and have arrived in good condition. They are both available for Sunday’s game if Víctor wants to include them from a technical point of view and have already been included in the squad list. In fact Pardo has said to journalists that he’s at the disposition of the manager if he needs me against Barcelona. Cejudo (technical) and Jonas Martin (knock) are missed out of the squad.

As for Sunday’s game, Betis will be welcoming that famous team from the north-east of Spain or the autonomous region of Cataluña, depending on who you speak to.

Yes FC Barcelona are coming to town.

An excellent team no doubt and the game is a huge challenge, but as Víctor says, “they don’t win all the time, even with Messi.”

Very true, sir. For now let’s take the stance of plucky underdogs. We’re familiar with this viewpoint and sometimes we even do well and entertain the fans. Let’s do this again.

messi against real betis

Operation Stop Messi

If Víctor and co just focus on Messi then they’ll get punished by Suárez, Neymar or about four other players. Betis need to be solidly set-up, be able to break fast and most importantly take whatever chances they are presented with to be able to take anything from the game.

Early kick-off tomorrow so make sure you set your alarm clocks. 11am UK time and 12 noon in Spain/CET.

Mucho Betis!

Adios to the ‘Grandmother of Betis’

Sadly this week, we lost the great woman known as la Abuela del Betis – the Grandmother of Betis.

The immaculately named Concepción Andrade passed away at the grand age of 92, news which was met with sadness both locally and nationally. She was perhaps the most famous Betis fan and lived in the Heliópolis barrio, a stones throw away from el Benito Villamarín. She was famous for her particular character, TV appearances and the fact that she lived to support the club, never seen without being accompanied by her favourite colours, green and white.

Upon her death there were countless messages of condolences, including that from former players, current players such as Joaquín and a touch of class from Sevilla FC who tweeted about the green and white family.

abuela betis sevilla

There was also a brilliant cartoon made by @betistoons. It shows Doña Concepción joining former player Miki Roque, who died from cancer in 2012 at the age of 23, up in the clouds. Like all good grandmothers, Concepción is asking Miki if he is sure that he doesn’t want more stew because he’s looking a bit weak. Miki replies for her not to worry, just sit yourself down, the game is about to start!

Just brilliant and sums up the feeling in one simple scene. Descanse en paz.

betistoons concepcion andrade

Betis vs Sporting Gijón

It seems quite fitting that the first game after Concepción’s passing should be against perhaps Betis’ greatest footballing friends, Sporting Gijón. There is a great mutual respect and brotherhood between the two clubs which has grown even more in recent years. As Betistoons shows below, the two could have been separated at birth.

sporting gijon real betis

Sporting have a terrible record when played in el Villamarín but it stands true that Betis haven’t won at home against los rojiblancos since 2012 under the guidance of Pepe Mel when Roque Santa Cruz and Jorge Molina were on the scoresheet.

Since the 1-0 loss last week to Atlético, Betis have Bruno and Petros back in the fold but José Carlos, Joaquín, Sanabria and Felipe Gutiérrez are all out, plus Mandi is at the African Cup of Nations. A win for Betis could put them fairly comfortably in mid-table but Sporting are floundering at the wrong end with just three wins all season.

Game kicks off at 5:30pm (UK)/ 6:30pm (Spain). Watch out for the one minute of silence for the Grandmother of Betis before kick off.

Viva el Betis!  

Poyet Slams Fans As Víctor Responds With A Win

Víctor and Real Betis started 2017 in perfect fashion with a controlled 2-0 victory over Leganés on Sunday. Let’s hope this is a benchmark for the rest of the season.

The win, courtesy of two second half goals from the ever-green Rubén Castro and unlikely scorer Cristiano Piccini, take Betis to 21 points from 17 games. This doesn’t sound like an awful lot but it is actually one of Betis’ brightest start in recent reasons. In fact over the last 14 years only Lorenzo Serra (2005) and Pepe Mel (2013) have accumulated more points by match day 17.

Much of this is down to new manager Víctor Sánchez, who let’s face it, has been a breath of fresh air at the club, after the rather toxic fumes of Gus Poyet, who actually called Betis out at the weekend from his new abode in China, at Shanghai Shenhua. The former Betis manager said his experience at los verdiblancos was “the first I’ve had as a manager.” He couldn’t explain why apart from one reason: the FANS.

He said visiting el Benito Villamarín as a player was always a pleasure but he found something totally different: “An altered situation, with lots of nervousness and a lot of division. A lot of aggression.” He does agree that it was the right decision to go.

It wasn’t a great experience for the fans either Gus, who were 100% behind you at the beginning. It is completely unfair to blame all this on some of the most loyal fans in the country. They were nervous because you, the head of the club, gave us nothing to be confident about. The teams you sent out had no motivation, no intensity and the football style was terrible.

Fast forward a few months down the line and the situation is completely different. Víctor has come in, amidst some fairly confused expressions, mine included, but he has kicked the team up the arse and got the fans fully on his side through: 1) the things he says, 2) his style of football, 3) the motivated way the team enter the field.

If you need more proof as to how well Víctor Sánchez del Amo is doing as los verdiblancos manager then cop a load of these facts, thanks to Pepe Elías:

  • Since he has arrived, he’s won the same number of points of Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and Real Sociedad – 10 points in 6 games;
  • Turning el Benito Villamarín into a fortress – all 10 points have been won at home
  • If the league started when he arrived, Betis would be 5th in la liga

Things are quite perfect of course. We were disappointingly eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Deportivo despite winning the first leg and we’ve lost two out of two away games under Víctor.

Domination of Leganés

From start to finish Betis dominated a Leganés side who looked like they had eaten too many polverones over navidad. Betis should have been in front by half time after threatening a few times without quite finding the final play. They went into half time at 0-0 but didn’t panic and we’re 1-0 six minutes into the second half.

dani ceballos real betis

If we couldn’t quite find the killer ball in the first half then Dani Ceballos certainly found it with an Xavi-esque through ball which sliced six Leganés players standing in front of him to set free the sprightly Rubén Castro who was lingering on the right hand side of the defence. Once free Rubén headed diagonally to the goal and did what he does best; finished with deadly aplomb into the bottom left hand corner.

After the game Ceballos called Castro a “living legend”. It’s great to see the old and the young combining. Ceballos is still only 20 and a lot of pressure is being heaped on him, but he is doing a fantastic job and is quickly becoming the number 10 Betis have been craving.

The second goal came near the end after a mix-up in the Leganés defence. A misplaced pass found it’s way to Alex Alegría who had one defender in front of him. Piccini was originally closing down the player who misplaced it and decided to carry on his run. Alegría gladly slotted him through and the Italian cooling slid it past the goalkeeper at the near post. 2-0, job very well done.

Quite a lot is also being made of the absence of Ryan Donk who was replaced by Jonas Martin. The Frenchman has been linked with a move away but Víctor will be unwilling to let him go based on that performance. He offers more than Donk in the middle of the field, controls the game better and has more of a presence. For me, Donk’s better position is at centre back.

Great start to the new year and with plenty of positive signs going forward.

Mucho Betis!

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