The ArgusAlbion v Betis - lowdown on today's test (with video) (From The Argus)

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Albion v Betis - lowdown on today's test (with video)

The Argus: Real Betis have suffered setbacks since the days when they took on stars like Leo Messi Real Betis have suffered setbacks since the days when they took on stars like Leo Messi

Albion are stepping up their preparations for the new season on two fronts.

The quality of the opposition is about to increase and so too, by necessity, will the size of Sami Hyypia’s squad in the 23 days remaining before Sheffield Wednesday’s opening visit to the Amex.

Hyypia was able to field only 14 players with first team experience in the first game of the Spanish tour, Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Partick Thistle.

Leo Ulloa and Kazenga LuaLua joined long-term victim Andrew Crofts on the injured list, while Dale Stephens has been left behind to continue his rehab.

The signing of Aaron Hughes has been offset for tonight’s second outing in Pinatar against Real Betis (6pm BST) by the absence of Lewis Dunk with a minor ankle problem.

The perception a year ago was that Albion were behind the ball game when Oscar Garcia was appointed as Gus Poyet’s successor, yet Oscar had more senior players available for his first friendly in Spain against Getafe.

It is too early to panic but the closer it gets to the start of the season proper the less time Hyypia will have to integrate new signings and the more likely it is that those arriving will not necessarily be first choice targets.

Hyypia needs, in order of priority, a goalkeeper, at least one striker, a left-back, another winger and a creative midfielder.

Pre-season results are immaterial. For the towering Finn it is all about being ready for Sheffield Wednesday on August 9.

Albion’s on-field inconveniences pale in comparison to the problems of tonight’s opponents.

Real Betis were on a roll in 2012-13 under Pepe Mel. They finished seventh in La Liga and qualified for the Europa League.

It all fell apart last season. A tearful Mel was sacked in December, with Betis a point adrift at the foot of the table, prior to his brief reign at West Brom.

The situation got worse under Juan Carlos Garrido. He lasted 47 days and Argentinian Gabriel Calderon, who steered Saudi Arabia to the 2006 World Cup finals, could not halt the decline as Betis finished adrift at the bottom.

Reaching the quarter-finals of the Europa League offered a crumb of consolation, until they were knocked out by local rivals Sevilla.

They have been in administration since 2010 with a debt of over £70 million, now reduced to under £24 million.

Julio Velazquez Santiago, at the tender managerial age of 32, has the task of resurrecting the fortunes of Betis in the Segunda Division after guiding Real Murcia to the play-offs last season.

He has gone back to his old club to sign right-back Francisco Molinero. A flurry of free transfer captures also included goalkeeper Dani Giménez, left-back Jorge Casado, striker Dani Pachecho and Bruno, a centre-back from Tenerife rather than his Albion namesake.

Betis are desperate to win their fans back after a dismal 2013-14 season

French-born Poland international Damien Perquis has agreed a contract extension and wage cut, full-back Juanfran has rejected a move to the Seagulls’ Championship rivals Middlesbrough and Senegalese midfielder Alfred N’Diaye is poised for a cut price return from Gus Poyet’s Sunderland for around £1.6 million after spending half of last season on loan at Betis.

They are in England for a friendly at Stoke on August 6, by which time the shape of Hyypia’s squad should be a lot clearer.

Comments (14)

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1:29pm Thu 17 Jul 14

WisdomSpeaks says...

Do you think we are playing Real Bêtis as a kind of gentle reminder of what can happen when investment stops!
Do you think we are playing Real Bêtis as a kind of gentle reminder of what can happen when investment stops! WisdomSpeaks
  • Score: 3

2:54pm Thu 17 Jul 14

MikeTheMan says...

Slightly sobering thought that it is only 23 days until the first league game. I agree with the Andy's list of priorities for new players: we need at very least three new players before the season starts and two, maybe three, more before the transfer window closes. We are short of players of proven Championship quality at the moment.
Slightly sobering thought that it is only 23 days until the first league game. I agree with the Andy's list of priorities for new players: we need at very least three new players before the season starts and two, maybe three, more before the transfer window closes. We are short of players of proven Championship quality at the moment. MikeTheMan
  • Score: 14

3:52pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Hammershead says...

I'm not really a doom and gloom merchant but in the last 24 hours I've had 2 Albion fans approach me with the same concerns...
Lack of numbers.
Lots of quality has left in last 2 years and very little has come in.
"Spin"? Lots of noise about strength of our youngsters. Is this code for limited number of new signings?

I can't help but wonder. Still a few weeks to season starts but this article highlights my conerns..... small squad, inexperienced, unlikely Sami will get his first choice targets.

Right to be concerned or should I chill out?
I'm not really a doom and gloom merchant but in the last 24 hours I've had 2 Albion fans approach me with the same concerns... Lack of numbers. Lots of quality has left in last 2 years and very little has come in. "Spin"? Lots of noise about strength of our youngsters. Is this code for limited number of new signings? I can't help but wonder. Still a few weeks to season starts but this article highlights my conerns..... small squad, inexperienced, unlikely Sami will get his first choice targets. Right to be concerned or should I chill out? Hammershead
  • Score: 7

4:39pm Thu 17 Jul 14

VegasSeagull says...

Hammershead wrote:
I'm not really a doom and gloom merchant but in the last 24 hours I've had 2 Albion fans approach me with the same concerns...
Lack of numbers.
Lots of quality has left in last 2 years and very little has come in.
"Spin"? Lots of noise about strength of our youngsters. Is this code for limited number of new signings?

I can't help but wonder. Still a few weeks to season starts but this article highlights my conerns..... small squad, inexperienced, unlikely Sami will get his first choice targets.

Right to be concerned or should I chill out?
I would chill if I were you. Have we really lost, 'lots of quality,' in the last two years. Bridcutt is the stand out I guess, but Ince has really stepped up and what has Bridders done now back with Gus, not a lot to my mind.

Some of those that have gone we had zero chance of keeping, TK and Upson being two. TK wanted prem football but hasn't, as yet, got it, Upson the same desire and he got what he wanted, what could we have done.

I can think fo a few loanees that were good, but they were never ours to keep. I guess I am forgetting some players that were quality, maybe Noone?

Perhaps you could offer up some names.
[quote][p][bold]Hammershead[/bold] wrote: I'm not really a doom and gloom merchant but in the last 24 hours I've had 2 Albion fans approach me with the same concerns... Lack of numbers. Lots of quality has left in last 2 years and very little has come in. "Spin"? Lots of noise about strength of our youngsters. Is this code for limited number of new signings? I can't help but wonder. Still a few weeks to season starts but this article highlights my conerns..... small squad, inexperienced, unlikely Sami will get his first choice targets. Right to be concerned or should I chill out?[/p][/quote]I would chill if I were you. Have we really lost, 'lots of quality,' in the last two years. Bridcutt is the stand out I guess, but Ince has really stepped up and what has Bridders done now back with Gus, not a lot to my mind. Some of those that have gone we had zero chance of keeping, TK and Upson being two. TK wanted prem football but hasn't, as yet, got it, Upson the same desire and he got what he wanted, what could we have done. I can think fo a few loanees that were good, but they were never ours to keep. I guess I am forgetting some players that were quality, maybe Noone? Perhaps you could offer up some names. VegasSeagull
  • Score: 0

4:46pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Willie, Willie Irvine says...

It does make me wonder if Hyypia now feels quite so sure of his decision to join the Albion. A recent comment from him about being in regular touch with the board about potential signings did sound rather forlorn - like a guy out on a limb...
It does make me wonder if Hyypia now feels quite so sure of his decision to join the Albion. A recent comment from him about being in regular touch with the board about potential signings did sound rather forlorn - like a guy out on a limb... Willie, Willie Irvine
  • Score: 4

4:47pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Neville says...

Hi Vegas
It's not so much who we have lost and there have been some awful loanees.The problem is who we have brought in. Hunt I think is a natural replacement for Upson and I believe Stephens to be a good signing.
Augustien now has to prove himself and I suspect a couple of the DS will get playing time.
We definitely need an experienced GK and a left back,together with a couple of quality midfielders and poss two moe forwards. Happy to have Lingaard back if that happens.TB said we would buy players and we would have a squad to compete for top six again.
Many fans feel frustrated and this is not being negative just concerned that we will struggle next season.
Something needs to happen on the recruitment front and fairly soon to give us a good chance of a good start to the campaign.
I know for a fact season sales are down,despite what the club say and this will get worse when renewals come around again unless there are some decent signings.
Hi Vegas It's not so much who we have lost and there have been some awful loanees.The problem is who we have brought in. Hunt I think is a natural replacement for Upson and I believe Stephens to be a good signing. Augustien now has to prove himself and I suspect a couple of the DS will get playing time. We definitely need an experienced GK and a left back,together with a couple of quality midfielders and poss two moe forwards. Happy to have Lingaard back if that happens.TB said we would buy players and we would have a squad to compete for top six again. Many fans feel frustrated and this is not being negative just concerned that we will struggle next season. Something needs to happen on the recruitment front and fairly soon to give us a good chance of a good start to the campaign. I know for a fact season sales are down,despite what the club say and this will get worse when renewals come around again unless there are some decent signings. Neville
  • Score: 1

5:01pm Thu 17 Jul 14

mark by the sea says...

VegasSeagull wrote:
Hammershead wrote:
I'm not really a doom and gloom merchant but in the last 24 hours I've had 2 Albion fans approach me with the same concerns...
Lack of numbers.
Lots of quality has left in last 2 years and very little has come in.
"Spin"? Lots of noise about strength of our youngsters. Is this code for limited number of new signings?

I can't help but wonder. Still a few weeks to season starts but this article highlights my conerns..... small squad, inexperienced, unlikely Sami will get his first choice targets.

Right to be concerned or should I chill out?
I would chill if I were you. Have we really lost, 'lots of quality,' in the last two years. Bridcutt is the stand out I guess, but Ince has really stepped up and what has Bridders done now back with Gus, not a lot to my mind.

Some of those that have gone we had zero chance of keeping, TK and Upson being two. TK wanted prem football but hasn't, as yet, got it, Upson the same desire and he got what he wanted, what could we have done.

I can think fo a few loanees that were good, but they were never ours to keep. I guess I am forgetting some players that were quality, maybe Noone?

Perhaps you could offer up some names.
Vegas if we lose Leo, that's 4 players to premier league, add Orlandi elabd and TK and we have lost a virtual starting 11,
[quote][p][bold]VegasSeagull[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hammershead[/bold] wrote: I'm not really a doom and gloom merchant but in the last 24 hours I've had 2 Albion fans approach me with the same concerns... Lack of numbers. Lots of quality has left in last 2 years and very little has come in. "Spin"? Lots of noise about strength of our youngsters. Is this code for limited number of new signings? I can't help but wonder. Still a few weeks to season starts but this article highlights my conerns..... small squad, inexperienced, unlikely Sami will get his first choice targets. Right to be concerned or should I chill out?[/p][/quote]I would chill if I were you. Have we really lost, 'lots of quality,' in the last two years. Bridcutt is the stand out I guess, but Ince has really stepped up and what has Bridders done now back with Gus, not a lot to my mind. Some of those that have gone we had zero chance of keeping, TK and Upson being two. TK wanted prem football but hasn't, as yet, got it, Upson the same desire and he got what he wanted, what could we have done. I can think fo a few loanees that were good, but they were never ours to keep. I guess I am forgetting some players that were quality, maybe Noone? Perhaps you could offer up some names.[/p][/quote]Vegas if we lose Leo, that's 4 players to premier league, add Orlandi elabd and TK and we have lost a virtual starting 11, mark by the sea
  • Score: -4

5:16pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Neville says...

Another area of concern is the back room staff, a number 2 needed possibly unless NJ gets the job,the scouting network and also the analyst team who provide info on the opposition also needs strengthening.
Think we are playing things far too close for comfort.
Another area of concern is the back room staff, a number 2 needed possibly unless NJ gets the job,the scouting network and also the analyst team who provide info on the opposition also needs strengthening. Think we are playing things far too close for comfort. Neville
  • Score: -2

5:18pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Ex-pat Arnie says...

Willie, Willie Irvine wrote:
It does make me wonder if Hyypia now feels quite so sure of his decision to join the Albion. A recent comment from him about being in regular touch with the board about potential signings did sound rather forlorn - like a guy out on a limb...
I'd be more worried if he wasn't in constant tough with the board, TBH. It is precisely what I would hope he was doing.
[quote][p][bold]Willie, Willie Irvine[/bold] wrote: It does make me wonder if Hyypia now feels quite so sure of his decision to join the Albion. A recent comment from him about being in regular touch with the board about potential signings did sound rather forlorn - like a guy out on a limb...[/p][/quote]I'd be more worried if he wasn't in constant tough with the board, TBH. It is precisely what I would hope he was doing. Ex-pat Arnie
  • Score: 1

5:24pm Thu 17 Jul 14

VegasSeagull says...

mark by the sea wrote:
VegasSeagull wrote:
Hammershead wrote:
I'm not really a doom and gloom merchant but in the last 24 hours I've had 2 Albion fans approach me with the same concerns...
Lack of numbers.
Lots of quality has left in last 2 years and very little has come in.
"Spin"? Lots of noise about strength of our youngsters. Is this code for limited number of new signings?

I can't help but wonder. Still a few weeks to season starts but this article highlights my conerns..... small squad, inexperienced, unlikely Sami will get his first choice targets.

Right to be concerned or should I chill out?
I would chill if I were you. Have we really lost, 'lots of quality,' in the last two years. Bridcutt is the stand out I guess, but Ince has really stepped up and what has Bridders done now back with Gus, not a lot to my mind.

Some of those that have gone we had zero chance of keeping, TK and Upson being two. TK wanted prem football but hasn't, as yet, got it, Upson the same desire and he got what he wanted, what could we have done.

I can think fo a few loanees that were good, but they were never ours to keep. I guess I am forgetting some players that were quality, maybe Noone?

Perhaps you could offer up some names.
Vegas if we lose Leo, that's 4 players to premier league, add Orlandi elabd and TK and we have lost a virtual starting 11,
Mark I guess I take a slightly different view with regard to players going to the prem.

We are a champ div club, we have been for the last three seasons, and during that tme we have had some decent players, no arguing that. Can we really expect to hold on to players that get a chance to play at the top level, could we have kept Upson, TK or Bridcutt, what would it have taken, we couldn't offer them prem football no more than we could offer them prem wages as we are not a prem club, not yet anyway.

Is it not a good thing that we at least had those players, even if their stay with us came to an end. The year after promotion we had a top ten finish, we backed that up with two top six finishes, would we have done that without those players, it's because of our team's results that the prem clubs came calling.

If we are to have a good season ahead it will be because some of our players have a great year, and if that happens the prem clubs might well come calling again, it's what they do. The only way we get to keep our, 'prem ready players,' is to gain promotion. Getting a squad good enough to get promoted does come down to spending, I wouldn't argue against that, but Burnley proved that it can be done without breaking the bank. It's not how much we spend, it's down to who we spend money on, and that today is down to Hyypia and others.

We will not get promoted unless we have some players that the prem takes a fancy to, and those players, in most cases, will not be ex prem lads, the prem clubs could have just bought them before we did. The players they will want will be the likes of Solly and Ince, if they progress, and yes Leo. Just a point about Leo, Leicester are NOT a prem club, today they are a club about to play in the prem div, you have to survive your first year to be a prem club.
[quote][p][bold]mark by the sea[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]VegasSeagull[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hammershead[/bold] wrote: I'm not really a doom and gloom merchant but in the last 24 hours I've had 2 Albion fans approach me with the same concerns... Lack of numbers. Lots of quality has left in last 2 years and very little has come in. "Spin"? Lots of noise about strength of our youngsters. Is this code for limited number of new signings? I can't help but wonder. Still a few weeks to season starts but this article highlights my conerns..... small squad, inexperienced, unlikely Sami will get his first choice targets. Right to be concerned or should I chill out?[/p][/quote]I would chill if I were you. Have we really lost, 'lots of quality,' in the last two years. Bridcutt is the stand out I guess, but Ince has really stepped up and what has Bridders done now back with Gus, not a lot to my mind. Some of those that have gone we had zero chance of keeping, TK and Upson being two. TK wanted prem football but hasn't, as yet, got it, Upson the same desire and he got what he wanted, what could we have done. I can think fo a few loanees that were good, but they were never ours to keep. I guess I am forgetting some players that were quality, maybe Noone? Perhaps you could offer up some names.[/p][/quote]Vegas if we lose Leo, that's 4 players to premier league, add Orlandi elabd and TK and we have lost a virtual starting 11,[/p][/quote]Mark I guess I take a slightly different view with regard to players going to the prem. We are a champ div club, we have been for the last three seasons, and during that tme we have had some decent players, no arguing that. Can we really expect to hold on to players that get a chance to play at the top level, could we have kept Upson, TK or Bridcutt, what would it have taken, we couldn't offer them prem football no more than we could offer them prem wages as we are not a prem club, not yet anyway. Is it not a good thing that we at least had those players, even if their stay with us came to an end. The year after promotion we had a top ten finish, we backed that up with two top six finishes, would we have done that without those players, it's because of our team's results that the prem clubs came calling. If we are to have a good season ahead it will be because some of our players have a great year, and if that happens the prem clubs might well come calling again, it's what they do. The only way we get to keep our, 'prem ready players,' is to gain promotion. Getting a squad good enough to get promoted does come down to spending, I wouldn't argue against that, but Burnley proved that it can be done without breaking the bank. It's not how much we spend, it's down to who we spend money on, and that today is down to Hyypia and others. We will not get promoted unless we have some players that the prem takes a fancy to, and those players, in most cases, will not be ex prem lads, the prem clubs could have just bought them before we did. The players they will want will be the likes of Solly and Ince, if they progress, and yes Leo. Just a point about Leo, Leicester are NOT a prem club, today they are a club about to play in the prem div, you have to survive your first year to be a prem club. VegasSeagull
  • Score: 1

6:53pm Thu 17 Jul 14

AGT999 says...

Is this evenings match being streamed?
Is this evenings match being streamed? AGT999
  • Score: 0

8:48pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Max Ripple says...

Ex-pat Arnie wrote:
Willie, Willie Irvine wrote:
It does make me wonder if Hyypia now feels quite so sure of his decision to join the Albion. A recent comment from him about being in regular touch with the board about potential signings did sound rather forlorn - like a guy out on a limb...
I'd be more worried if he wasn't in constant tough with the board, TBH. It is precisely what I would hope he was doing.
All depends on what he's hearing from the board.
[quote][p][bold]Ex-pat Arnie[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Willie, Willie Irvine[/bold] wrote: It does make me wonder if Hyypia now feels quite so sure of his decision to join the Albion. A recent comment from him about being in regular touch with the board about potential signings did sound rather forlorn - like a guy out on a limb...[/p][/quote]I'd be more worried if he wasn't in constant tough with the board, TBH. It is precisely what I would hope he was doing.[/p][/quote]All depends on what he's hearing from the board. Max Ripple
  • Score: 0

9:44pm Thu 17 Jul 14

thetungsten says...

Depressing times- the hangover has just kicked in! Sorry but true! There's no way of dressing up what is really going on! Bloom is into his overdraft!
Depressing times- the hangover has just kicked in! Sorry but true! There's no way of dressing up what is really going on! Bloom is into his overdraft! thetungsten
  • Score: 1

10:46pm Thu 17 Jul 14

hubby says...

I was at the game tonight and it wasn't good.
In the second half it was embarrassing as the Betis keeper spent most of it on the halfway line.
3-1 was very flattering.
I was at the game tonight and it wasn't good. In the second half it was embarrassing as the Betis keeper spent most of it on the halfway line. 3-1 was very flattering. hubby
  • Score: 0
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