Real Betis vs. Barcelona: Team News, Preview, Live Stream, TV Info

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IJanuary 20, 2018

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 20:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona gestures during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Betis Balompie at Camp Nou stadium on August 20, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

La Liga leaders Barcelona head to Real Betis on Sunday fresh from seeing their 29-game unbeaten run ended by local rivals Espanyol in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.

They face a home side who are in form having won their last two La Liga games, scoring eight goals along the way and conceding five.

As such, it promises to be a fascinating match at Estadio Benito Villamarin. Read on for viewing details, team news and a full match preview.

       

Date: Sunday, Jan. 21

Time: 7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET

TV Info:  Sky Sports Football (UK), beIN Sport (U.S.)

Live Stream: Sky Go, beIN Connect 

      

Team News

Real Betis will welcome Andres Guardado and Zouhair Feddal back from suspension after the pair missed the win over Leganes last time out due to suspension.

Aïssa Mandi is a doubt with a sprained ankle, but manager Quique Setien is hopeful Antonio Adan, Antonio Barragan, Francis Guerrero will all be fit, per Jose A. Espina at AS.

Barcelona have injury problems with Ousmane Dembele out for several weeks, while Andres Iniesta has a calf problem, the club have confirmed.

Midfielder Paulinho is also a doubt as he was forced off in the defeat to Espanyol, and the club fear he has fractured his foot, per Santi Gimenez at AS.

Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti and Paco Alcacer also remain sidelined through injury, while new signing Yerry Mina is also available after his transfer was officially completed, per Sport.

     

Preview

Barcelona may be nine points clear at the top of La Liga, but they will be hoping to return to winning ways after their midweek disappointment.

Valverde made changes for the short trip to Espanyol, some enforced, and with Jordi Alba, Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez missing from the starting lineup, the visitors lacked creativity and penetration in attack.

Alba and Suarez are both in fine form and should return to give Barca an extra cutting edge against Betis.

The left-back has flourished since the departure of Neymar and has six assists this season, while Suarez has shrugged off a slow start to return to his best form, as shown by Opta:

Paulinho will also be a big miss as he has contributed real drive from midfield as well as an impressive amount of goals, as shown by WhoScored.com:

Goals have certainly been a feature of Real Betis' season as only struggling Deportivo La Coruna and bottom side Las Palmas have conceded more in La Liga than Setien's side.

Yet Betis have scored 33 goals in 19 games to sit in seventh place in the table and will provide a threat. Football writer Colin Millar said they are a great team to watch:

The club have been involved in some wild games this season, most recently a tumultuous 5-3 win over local rivals Sevilla but also a 6-3 defeat to Valencia and a 4-4 draw with Real Sociedad.

Barcelona have more than enough quality in attack to exploit Betis' defensive weaknesses, but the hosts will provide a threat, and if nothing else, there should be plenty of goals on Sunday.

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