Real Madrid vs. Real Betis: 3 key individual battles to watch on Saturday

Real Madrid, Nacho Fernandez (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Nacho Fernandez (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid will face Real Betis at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano this Saturday night, having beaten Cadiz 3-0 on Wednesday behind three first-half goal contributions from Player of the Season candidate Karim Benzema.

Betis will be tougher opponents for Los Merengues, considering they are in sixth place and are favorites to seal a Europa League spot. Madrid defeated Betis earlier this season, 3-2, and we can expect a similarly close match this weekend.

Let’s take a look at three individual battles that can help decide this Matchday 32 clash in La Liga. Selections are based on MARCA’s predicted lineups.

Real Madrid DM Casemiro vs. Real Betis CM Sergio Canales

This is THE battle to watch in this match. We will see the best defensive midfielder in the world going up against an underrated Player of the Season candidate in former Madridista Sergio Canales.

With Nabil Fekir suspended, the play will 100 percent run through Canales, who is Betis’ leading scorer and recently hit a worldie in a 2-2 draw with Valencia. Canales sets the tempo and is very difficult to dispossess, while also being a great creator of clear-cut chances for his teammates.

Meanwhile, Casemiro is at the top of his game. He’s averaging more than two tackles and interceptions per game in La Liga, and he created a clear-cut chance of his own earlier this week by assisting Karim from open play in the win over Cadiz.

Real Madrid CB Nacho Fernandez vs. Real Betis ST Borja Iglesias

Borja Iglesias is second on Real Betis with seven goals scored this season and is a clinical striker. He can be a danger to Real Madrid if he is not accounted for in the box. Iglesias is the kind of player who only needs a little bit of space to score.

Nacho has been excellent this season with Sergio Ramos out, and his strong play continued against Cadiz. Look for him to play a key role in shutting down Iglesias and making sure the Betis striker does not burn Madrid.

Real Madrid LW Vinicius Junior/Eden Hazard vs. Real Betis RB Emerson, CB Aissa Mandi

Emerson is one of Real Betis’ best players, and the right back is a willing and able contributor to the Betis attack. But that could leave him vulnerable against Real Madrid and left winger Vinicius Junior, who has been in good form over the past couple of months, especially in the first leg vs. Liverpool and El Clasico.

Vinicius could have a lot of space to work with and might be able to do some damage with Karim Benzema on the break. With a back three and Marcelo behind him, we could see Vini playing closer to goal this weekend, which means some favorable matchups against Aissa Mandi. He is a decent La Liga center back, but he will also have issues stopping Vini one-on-one.

Next. 5 Real Madrid players who must shine vs. Real Betis. dark

And then in the second half, Real can call upon Eden Hazard to make something happen. Hazard is in the squad for the first time since suffering his latest injury and is expected to get some minutes before a potential reunion with Chelsea next Tuesday. Hazard could have a nice day against Betis’ mediocre defense.