European Football Preview: The Seville derby

Betis celebrate
Betis are thrilling under Setien
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The Seville derby has already provided one of the games of the season on the continent and James Horncastle can't wait for the next instalment...

"Entertainment is guaranteed as far as the Verdiblancos are concerned."

Fireworks at Villamarín

The reverse fixture was box office stuff. Betis twice got in front at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan only for the first half to end 2-2. Another four goals came after the interval, three of them for Betis in a spectacular 5-3 win behind enemy lines. What a way to welcome Vincenzo Montella to La Liga! Needless to say the Italian is no longer in charge of Sevilla.

Joaquin Caparros stepped into the breach a couple of weeks ago and all of a sudden things are looking up. The Rojiblancos have recorded back-to-back wins, the latest coming against Real Madrid in midweek. Beating Betis would keep Sevilla in the hunt for a Europa League place going into the final weekend of the season when sixth place Villarreal close out the campaign against Zinedine Zidane's Champions League finalists. Sevilla's better head-to-head record would see them qualify if they were to end up level on points with the Yellow Submarine.

Of course this spices things up even more for Betis who have already qualified for the Europa League and can effectively deny their rivals access to continental competition by getting something at Villamarín on Sunday afternoon. Betis lost in Bilbao last weekend but only Levante and Barcelona have enjoyed a better run over the last six games.

Things have really clicked under Quique Setien with Betis getting the results to match their exhilarating performances. Entertainment is guaranteed as far as the Verdiblancos are concerned. It's enough to look at their goal difference with 56 for and 56 against. Betis have won their last four at home and despite Sevilla's upturn in form under Caparros they must look at this as a great chance to beat their rivals at Villamarín for the first time since 2006 in La Liga.

A Betis victory is trading @ [2.64].

Crisis hits Milan

Milan could have guaranteed Europa League qualification by winning the Coppa Italia on Wednesday. However, the 4-0 defeat suffered to Juventus not only leaves their confidence on the floor, it increases the pressure on Milan's shoulders.

Milan are sixth and still have their destiny in their hands. But the fixture list is not smiling on them. Milan go to in-form Atalanta this weekend who probably think they should be ahead of their opponents.

Unlucky to draw away to Lazio, a result that allowed Milan to leapfrog them, Atalanta look fresher and more menacing than the visitors to the Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on Sunday. It's remarkable when you think about it. Atalanta sold Andrea Conti and Franck Kessie to Milan last summer. They spent a fraction of what Milan did and almost went as far in the Europa League. And yet here Atalanta are with a golden opportunity of booking another European tour.

Gian Piero Gasperini deserves a huge amount of credit not only for how he has managed his squad across three front. But continuing to look to the club's academy for reinforcements. Teenage striker Musa Barrow has given Atalanta a new cutting edge at just the right time.

How Gigio Donnarumma picks himself up after Wednesday's dispiriting performance against Juventus remains to be seen. Milan's highly regarded young `keeper will need to have his wits about him if his team are to come away from Bergamo with their hopes of qualifying for Europe still intact.

An Atalanta victory on Sunday is priced @ [1.98]. Better value is to be had at picking them to win both halves @ [2.1].

The Sharks smell blood

The hospital overlooking the Ezio Scida will have a sudden influx of patients on Sunday afternoon. The stairwells on the third and sixth floor offer great vantage points of Crotone's ground and no one will want to miss this weekend's game. It's huge for both teams.

Crotone are only a point clear of the relegation zone and could be safe if they beat Lazio, which, incidentally, is exactly how the Sharks pulled off the Great Escape on the final day of last season. Lazio meanwhile currently reside in the fourth and final Champions League just two points above Inter but could well go into this game trailing their competitors for that spot depending on how the Nerazzurri get on against Sassuolo at San Siro on Saturday night.

The stakes are high.

Crotone are undefeated in three games at the Scida and always raise their game in front of their own fans. Simy is in the form of his career and perhaps stands a chance of a call up for Nigeria's World Cup squad. Lazio are unbeaten in 10 games and boast the league's most prolific attack. But injuries to top scorer Ciro Immobile and creator-in-chief Luis Alberto come at a bad time. The pair of them are expected to miss this weekend's game and Inter's visit to the Olimpico.

Could we be about to see Lazio's Champions League hopes go up in smoke? Simone Inzaghi has a range of options to keep his attack sharp. Felipe Caicedo has done OK in Immobile's absence while Nani and Felipe Anderson should ensure Lazio make up for any shortfall in skill left by Alberto.

Nevertheless the news must come as a huge boost to Crotone. Securing their top flight status against Lazio promises to become a recurring theme. Walter Zenga's side are [4.3] to win on Sunday.


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