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Real Betis Vs Athletic Club: An Analysis

In a game that see 2 unique clubs go head to head, the home team managed to get the best from the game after a scintillating first 20 minutes in which they scored all their goals. A Joaquin hattrick saw Real Betis get the better of Athletic Club. Incidentally Joaquin is now the oldest player in La Liga History to score a hattrick.

Before the game Athletic Had the best defence in the League only conceding 9 goals. A penalty just before half time gave Athletic hope of a comeback in the second half. And a goal from Yuri in the 75thmin further inforced that hope. But unfortunately for Athletic their first 20 minutes was too much to over come.

The Line Ups

Real Betis 3-4-2-1

GK: Robles

Def: Bartra Edgar Feddal

Mid: E.Royal Canales A.Guadado, Alex Moreno

Attack: D.Lainez Joaquin

Fwd: Loren

Athletic Club 4-2-3-1

GK: Simon

Def: Capa, Yeray, I.Martinez, Yuri.B

Mid: Unai Lopez, Dani Garcia

Attack: Williams, O.Sancet, Cordoba

Fwd: Kodro

The Breakdown


As is their norm, played a highly fluid 3-4-2-1 system. Laines and Joaquin had license to do as they please and drift in and out of pockets of space they could find. As well as both been quick, they are both highly technical. This enabled Betis to use a lot of Up-back-through passing patterns. The more interesting of these player movements though belong to a player much less heralded. Edgar. Yes the centre back. Well more of a centre back/ #6 hybrid. Quite often, when in 2 phases of build-up (back and midfield 3rds), he would play as an auxiliary midfielder, allowing both Canales and Guardado to push forward further to support the attacking trident.

To show the main movements of Canales and Guardado would be almost impossible. To say they covered nearly every blade of grass would be an understatement, especially in the first half.

Betis would attempt to drag the block of Athletic out of shape, they would do this by circulating the ball from Emerson to Moreno and back again until they could find a pass into one of the midfielders. This was done at a fairly rapid rate, this allowed Canales and Guardado to be able to pick up the ball in space and play forward passes into space for Lainez and Joaquin (especially Joaquin) to run onto, as seen in their second goal.

In the second half however, Edgar played more like a traditional holding midfielder, and Betis were more 4-1-4-1 in shape without the ball. This was in reaction to a couple of changes that Athletic made.

Athletic Club

Athletic started the game in their usual 4-2-3-1. With both fullbacks going on overlaps with wingers playing slightly to the inside.

This shape gave Athletic their solid defensive shape, that even though broken early, throughout the half showed why they were leading the league in goals against. Apart from the shots that Betis scored from, they didn’t have many other chances. In the first half their spells of possession Athletic tending to revolve play around the wing areas, using short passing combinations to try and find an opening.

Coming out of the second half, Athletic came out in a 3-5-2. With Williams moving up front to partner Kodro. Cordoba made way for Nunez coming on to play on the left of the 3. This allowed Athletic to overload in the middle of the park, with a centre back pushing up, this also meant that the Betis wingers had to be more aware of the wingbacks. Thus, reducing their attacking threat.

This move paid off with Athletic, with them dominating the larger part of the second half, reducing Betis to playing defence for the most part.

This was a incredibly entertaining game, especially the last 10 minutes, with both teams enjoying large parts on the front foot. Athletic (after the first 20 minutes) showed why they had the stingiest defence in the league. Betis showed signs of the team of previous years but still some work to do, the return of Fakir will help.

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