Soccer Pub Movie Ranking: four / five
Barcelona will be looking to continue their unbeaten run in the league when they take on Real Betis on Sunday. Their main title rivals Real Madrid won their match this weekend in style after a 5-1 thrashing of Real Sociedad. This has put a little pressure on Barcelona to take three points. Lionel Messi is also under pressure to score his first goal in the league after a long time. The Argentine superstar has not scored in the last four league matches. Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino has revealed that this will not be an easy match for them.
Even though Real Betis are bottom of the table, he expects the home team to put a strong fight in the match. The home team have won just two matches all season long and are rooted to the bottom of the table. Martino has confirmed that two main players – Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets – will not be involved for Barcelona. Pique has been left home, while Busquets will be left out of this match in order to rest him. These absences may mean that former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song may get an opportunity to impress in the middle of the park.
The Cameroon international has seen very little first-team action since moving to Barcelona.
“I expect Betis to come out for us, especially playing at home. They have some great players, and although their league results haven’t been too good, they’re doing well in Europe. We expect a very difficult match. Betis are dangerous because they’re a good team. Their league position doesn’t matter. Whoever saw how they played against Madrid in the first match knows they have a good team. I have a high opinion of Song,” said Martino ahead of the match.
Barcelona also have to worry about Atletico Madrid, who are very close to them in the table.
Football Pub Movie Ranking: four / 5
Soccer Pub Video clip Score: four / five
Barcelona recently appointed Gerardo Martino as the replacement for Tito Vilanova, who had to step down from his managerial job due to the difficulties from his cancer treatment resurfacing once again. Vilanova missed large chunks of last season due to cancer treatment, and a reappearance of the disease has meant that he would have had to do the same this season as well. Barcelona were not at their imperious best last campaign and it was primarily due to the constant changing of managers. Barcelona decided to hand over the duties to assistant manager Roura when Vilanova was absent.
Barcelona only managed to win the league title last campaign, but it was largely viewed as a hollow victory because it was mainly down to the lack of a challenge from Real Madrid. During the Guardiola era, Barcelona were one of the strongest teams in the world. The decimated their opponents by playing a style of football that was so intense. Defender Dani Alves has said that the club is close to recapturing that intensity under the regime of Martino, who has been overseeing the training in the last few weeks.
Barcelona also recently brought in Brazilian striker Neymar from Santos for around £ 50 million. He is expected to reduce the burden on Lionel Messi.
“Tata Martino is a good coach. He’s given us that intensity that we perhaps lost over the years. With this spirit we will once again be able to do great things. The fans can get excited about this team because the players are ready to give it their all,” said the Brazilian defender on the official site of Barcelona. Barcelona recently managed to win 8-0 against Brazilian club Santos in a friendly match. They will be playing against Levante in the opening game of the season at home.