Real Betis Balompie ended last season ready to make a lot of changes over the summer. They had seen improvement season after season until 2018-2019, when the team dropped a lot of points.
Their form towards the close of last season left the senior club management in no doubt that investment was needed, not just in the squad but also in the back room.
Pre-Season Planning and Preparation
Previous manager, Quique Setien, was sacked within hours of their final match of the 2018-2019 season, despite wins against La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. Betis’ league position had dropped considerably, and many feel that Setien was a victim of his own early successes, qualifying for the Champion’s League in his first season.
New manager Rubi was quickly installed and given the financial firepower needed to reshape the squad thanks to a new three-year sponsor, Easymarkets. Rubi quickly invested in some new, fast-paced talent; most notably Nabil Fekir in a €22 million transfer from Lyon.
A big loss to the team in pre-season was the transfer from the club of goalkeeping stalwart Pau Lopez to A.S. Roma. This €23.5 million deal brought more funds to the war chest but at the cost of a world-class keeper that was a favourite amongst the Real Betis faithful.
The New Look Betis Side has Good Home Form
Rubi’s new look squad started the season with a tricky fixture, at home to Real Valladolid. Betis dominated the match physically, but failed to gel up front and only managed to find the net once while Valladolid managed to break through twice, beginning Betis’ season with a disappointing home loss.
Their home form has since improved a little, managing draws with Getafe and Eibar and a well-earned 3-1 win against Levante. Real Betis’ success at home will be crucial to the success of their season, and despite an early loss they are steadily improving and turning the Benito Villamarin into a fortress that can trouble any visiting team, perhaps even Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Real Betis Need to do Better on the Road
The team’s away form has been shocking, however. Real Betis Balompie managed to concede five goals at both Barcelona and Villareal. It is losses like this that highlight the absence of Pau Lopez, who surely would have kept the ball out of the Betis net. They also only managed to draw at league minnows Osasuna, highlighting Betis’ poor away form.
Though improvements at home are readily apparent, the team needs to do a lot better on the road if they are going to challenge for Champion’s League places at the end of the season.
It is important to remember that there are a lot of games left to play in La Liga, and in football anything can happen, but Real Betis need to improve quickly if they are going to get some success this year.
Rubi is a young, but promising football coach and has had the financial clout to make some steady improvements to the squad. Many at Betis expect to finish in the European places at the top half of the table, but only time will tell.