Aug 20, 2017 at 7.15pm UK at ​Camp Nou
Attendance: 56,480
Real Betis
Tosca (36' og.), Roberto (39')
Alba (52'), Digne (92')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Leiva (63')

Preview: Barcelona vs. Real Betis

Sports Mole previews Barcelona's opening weekend of La Liga action as they welcome the visit of Real Betis to Camp Nou.

Barcelona head into their opening La Liga fixture against Real Betis aiming to put a frustrating pre-season, both on and off the field, behind them.

As for the visitors, new coach Quique Setien is coming into the contest off the back of some positive summer results and a number of exciting additions in the current transfer window.


Cristiano Ronaldo scores past Gerard Pique during the Supercopa de Espana first-leg match between Barcelona and Real Madrid on August 13, 2017© Offside

New Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde has hardly enjoyed the smoothest of transitions into life at Camp Nou, following on from Luis Enrique who claimed two La Liga titles and a Champions League crown while in charge.

Valverde has so far had to deal with one of the summer's most controversial transfers, which has seen the coach perhaps lose one of the best players in the world to Paris Saint-Germain.

Coupled with that, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has been left increasingly frustrated in his pursuit of a replacement, as the signatures of both Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele have proven a hard task to land.

A difficult transfer window has been compounded by some poor results in the run-up to this weekend's opening fixtures, following Real Madrid's humbling of Blaugrana in the Supercopa de Espana.

With those struggles potentially hampering Barca's title chances before the season has even begun, Valverde will be hoping that his charges can open the campaign with a win in order to settle any early nerves.

Despite the club's pre-season struggles, Barca have indeed won all 12 of their last home games in La Liga, standing them in good stead ahead of the visit of Betis.

Given the recent horrific events in Catalonia, Barca will likely be hoping to offer the city a slight lift after what has been a tumultuous week for both residents and tourists alike.

Last season's league form: WWWWWW

Real Betis

German Pezzella and Gerard Moreno in actione during the La Liga game between Espanyol and Real Betis on March 3, 2016© Getty Images

All things considered, Betis enjoyed a successful stay in La Liga last term, after securing a third straight appearance in the Spanish top flight this campaign.

Pre-season has even proven fruitful for Setien and his charges, especially considering the victory picked up against a resurgent AC Milan side guided by the funds of Li Yonghong.

Setien has potentially had one of the most successful transfer windows in Spain too, having strengthened his squad across the board.

The club have already been able to bring in the likes of Victor Camarasa, Ryad Boudebouz, Javi Garcia and Cristian Tello among others.

One area that Setien will need to rectify this season is Real's defending on the road. As things stand, Betis have conceded at least two goals in six of their last seven outings in La Liga.

Added to that, Betis have won just once in their last five league matches and currently find themselves in the midst of a malaise that needs curing should they wish to avoid relegation for another season.

Last season's league form: DLLLWW

Team News

Luis Suarez in action for Barcelona during their La Liga clash with Granada at the Camp Nou on October 29, 2016© SilverHub

Barca were recently rocked by the news that Luis Suarez will now miss a month of football, potentially handing a prolonged chance to Paco Alcacer.

Gerard Pique is injured too, leaving Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano in partnership at the back, while Rafinha, Andres Iniesta and Thomas Vermaelen are all out for the hosts.

The visitors will likely hand a club debut to Sergio Leon, who will lead Betis in attack.

Andres Guardado is expected to feature in midfield alongside new signing Camarasa.

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Stegen; Alba, Umtiti, Mascherano, Vidal; Rakitic, Busquets, Gomes; Deulofeu, Alcacer, Messi

Real Betis possible starting lineup:
Adan; Durmisi, Mandi, Feddal, Barragan; Brasanac, Guardado, Camarasa; Leiva, Leon, Joaquin

Head To Head

Barcelona find themselves in a position of strength when it comes to the sides' competitive history.

Barca have claimed victory in their last eight home contests against Betis across all competitions.

In those matches, Barca have scored at least three goals against Betis too.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Barcelona 3-1 Real Betis

The summer has proven to be a tough ask already for Valverde, but the quality still available in Barca's ranks suggests that the coach has plenty at his disposal in order to get things right this term. A lack of additions will frustrate fans and perhaps some of his team too, although the club should have more than enough in the tank to get their campaign moving in a positive fashion. Betis have often proven an enjoyable folly for Barca, especially when playing at home, which should fill Valverde's men with plenty of confidence going into Sunday's contest.

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Real Betis
Real Betis
Cristian Tello for Porto on February 1, 2015
Read Next:
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