Does Real Betis Have a Legitimate Chance At Qualifying For Europe?

Betis currently sits in 6th place in La Liga with 9 points. Last year the club finished in 12th, and the year before it was not even playing in the first division. So the club is a bit of a long shot to qualify for Europe, but recent trends in La Liga show that the small team from Seville has as good of a chance as anyone.

 

Season

Points needed for UCL

Points needed for Europa

2009-2010

63

58

2010-2011

62

58

2011-2012

58

55

The chart above illustrates the increasing parity in La Liga. Real Madrid and Barcelona are automatic locks for Europe, but we see here that the fight for the other spots has become more competitive.

So far this season, Betis is third in the league 10 goals scored. They have shown to be strong with set pieces (3 goals), and the 4.5 shots on target per game Betis in the top half of La Liga for that category. Jorge Molina has been on fire, averaging a goal per game in his first three appearances. His partner in crime, Ruben Castro, is averaging close to 3 shots per game from the midfield, while as a team Betis is getting 70% of their shots off inside of the 18 yard box.

The concern for Betis is in the midfield. As a team Betis is averaging 18.5 interceptions per game, but unfortunately when they win the ball they are not able to establish themselves. Betis is only completing 74% of its passes, and has relied heavily on the long ball early in the season (63 long balls per game). Consequently, Betis has the second-worst possession percentage (24) in the attacking half, and the lack of offensive creativity puts extra stress on the Betis defenders, who have already allowed 10 goals this season.

It’s safe to say that Betis will need to get to 58 points if they want to get to Europe. This week are underdogs at home to Atletico Madrid, and will need to improve in the midfield in order to compete with this tier of competition. Atletico Madrid relies on short passes to advance up the field, and have been particularly good on the road averaging 432 short passes per game. If Betis can disrupt these passes, and then create more of their own possession, they have a chance of earning more valuable points early in the season.

 

 

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