Real Betis continued their disappointing start to the new La Liga season with a 5-2 defeat at Barcelona on Sunday.
However, there were plenty of signs during the game that a return to winning ways should not be too far away.
Having agreed a lucrative new sponsorship deal with easyMarkets during the summer, hopes were high that Betis could build on last season’s 10th place finish.
The financial brokerage firm’s brand will appear on the team’s shirts for the next three years and they will be keen to see them climb the table. Read on as we assess Betis’ performance at Barcelona.
Fekir shows his class
Betis raised a few eyebrows this summer when they secured the services of Nabil Fekir from Lyon for £17.8 million.
The World Cup winner had previously been linked with a move to the Premier League, so his arrival at the Benito Villamarin Stadium represents something of a coup for the club.
The 26-year-old showcased his talent at the Nou Camp, firing home a stunning goal to put Betis ahead in the 15th minute.
He displayed flashes of quality during the rest of the game and will be a big threat to the rest of the teams in La Liga this season.
Defence needs time to gel
With a new goalkeeper and two new full-backs it came as no surprise to see Betis look a little shaky at the back.
However, they are unlikely to face any other side who possess Barca’s forward quality this season and it shouldn’t take too long for the defensive unit to gel.
Centre-backs Bartra and Sidnei struggled to cope with Antoine Griezmann’s movement and the French forward deservedly bagged a couple of goals.
Despite this result the Betis defence should find its feet over the coming weeks and give the team a platform to go on and win games.
Late rally a positive sign
Loren’s stunning drive which flew into the top corner in the 79th minute proved to be nothing more than a consolation for Betis.
However, that strike was a sign that the visitors were refusing to lie down and that should stand Rubi’s side in good stead over the coming weeks.
The fixture list has been relatively kind to Betis, with upcoming home games against Leganes and Getafe offering an opportunity to get some wins on the board.
Betis complete their September schedule with matches against Osasuna, Levante and Villarreal and it would be no surprise to see them in the top half of the table by the end of the month.