Betis will end 2015 in style tonight when they take on newly crowned Champions of the World, Barcelona. Betis have had a relatively tranquilo 10 days since their determined display in el derbi sevillano, which of course finished 0-0, but Barcelona have been in Japan taking on a couple of clubs from across the world. Luis Enrique’s men beat River Plate 3-0 in the final to take the official crown as ‘Best Team in the World’.

Not much then for Betis to sneak away with a point from the Nou Camp?

This evening’s match sparks the start of a very hectic schedule during January – before the month is out, Betis will have played 8 matches; 6 league games and the mere task of facing off twice with Sevilla in the Copa del Rey.

It could/likely will be an important month for Betis, therefore. So far, so good in terms of our league performance. We’re the same distance from relegation as we are from Europe; stay here and it would be the perfect first season back. It’s still absolutely clear that the only objective of the season is to avoid relegation.

So to Barcelona, where Betis have not had any positive sort of result for the best part of a decade since Sobis helped us to grab a draw. You have to go back 18 years for the last win, a 3-1 victory with goals from Alfonso and two from Finidi George.

Squads

The Betis squad is full strength. In a bit of surprise, Pepe Mel has left out Jorge Molina, meaning there are only two recognised strikers in the whole squad – Rubén Castro and Ricky Van Wolfswinkel. Also left out is full back Varela and Alvaro Vadillo, who upon his return seemed to have hit a bit of form. These seem to be technical omissions, but there have been no official reasons given.

There is no way to play defensive against Barcelona, it simply doesn’t work. Spending 90 minutes defending against Messi, Neymar, and Suárez and not expecting them to score…1/100 chance. I think Betis should take heart Barca’s last league performance at home to Deportivo La Coruña, where the Galicians came away with a 2-2 draw. We are going to have to score at least a goal to get anything from this game.

Barca are also firing on all pistons in terms of their team, tonight we will be seeing all the big guns: Iniesta, Busquets, Alba, Alves, Rakitic and MSN!

Should be a cracker – Barcelona vs Real Betis, 7:30pm (GMT), 30th December.

Patrick O’Connell to be Honoured

Important point to note that before the game former Betis and Barcelona manager, Patrick O’Connell will be honoured before the game for the work he did with both clubs. The Irishman guided Betis to their one and only league title and led Barcelona superbly after the break out of the Spanish Civil War.

Viva el Betis!