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Quique Setien: The best manager for the football neutral 

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
1.04K   //    08 Jan 2018, 20:15 IST

UD Las Palmas v Real Madrid CF - La Liga
Turning on the style

It was another weekend of La Liga football and another barnstorming Real Betis fixture as, under Quique Setien, Los Verdiblancos, are the most exciting team to watch in Spain's top tier, and maybe even Europe at the moment.

Regardless of the result, Betis' trip to Sevilla for the Seville derby was always going to be one to watch, and it certainly proved to be the case, as the pair played out an eight-goal thriller, which Betis won 5-3 at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.

Betis opened the scoring after 22 seconds on Saturday, robbing the ball from Sevilla's kick-off via their high-pressing 4-3-3 that Setien has deployed both at Betis and Las Palmas, his previous role before he took over at Estadio Benito Villamarín last summer.

Setien is very much 'my way or no way' as Betis set up in the same fashion, every week, regardless of whether they were playing Real Madrid or Real Murcia.

Although the game plan is predictable, the matches are far from it, with the only predictable thing about Betis being that they are unpredictable.

Already this season, they have smashed Levante 4-0, played out a 4-4 draw at Real Sociedad, lost 6-3 at home to Valencia, and lost 5-0 at Eibar prior to the weekend's 5-3.

Before all of those results though, they somehow kept Real Madrid at bay at the Bernabeu, winning 1-0 against the European champions despite some of the best players in the world peppering their goal, before Betis snatched it via Antonio Sanabria in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

Despite all the bluster, Betis are a safe 10th in the league so far, an improvement on last season's 15th, and are the fifth-top scorers but have the third leakiest defence.

While Betis are on the rise under Setien, his former club, Las Palmas, have had a dramatic decline. They are rock-bottom of La Liga and are on their third manager post-Setien already after achieving 14th last campaign.

Betis' 4-3-3 has all the attributes you would expect of an entertaining side, most notably the emphasis to play out from the back and overlapping wing-backs (ex-Middlesbrough man Antonio Barragan and Riza Durmisi).

The goalkeeper, Adan, is not a traditional 'sweeper' or a ball-playing goalkeeper but is adapting, with Setien going for the coaching approach to his stopper, as opposed to someone like Pep Guardiola, who decided to buy Claudio Bravo instead of trying to teach Joe Hart how to pass.

Adan is supported by the two centre-backs and the three central midfielders offer help as well, as Betis aim to recycle possession rather than waste it.

For an Anglo view on things, Betis are very much like Liverpool in the sense that their goalkeeper is not particularly comfortable on the ball, which leads to errors, but the system supports the wing-backs and the forward three which leads to Betis being such a force going forward to make up for it.

Andres Guardado, Betis' left winger who joined from PSV last July, is the joint-third highest assister in La Liga with six and Betis goals are spread throughout the team.

Their top scorer, Sanabria, has seven goals from the 12 matches he has played so far while Sergio Leon has six in 16.

Betis fans might be tearing their hair out with Setien as their manager on occasion, but if it is entertaining football you want, Beticos should be high on your list of priorities to watch.

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