La Liga Preview: Barcelona - Real Sociedad
The Catalan side attempt to end their recent run of draws as Phillipe Montanier's outfit travel to Camp Nou for Spanish Primera Division action
By Martin Macdonald
Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal
Xavi, Busquets, Thiago
Messi, Cesc, Sanchez
C.Martinez, Gonzalez, I.Martinez, Estrada
Elustondo, Aranburu, Zurutuza
Griezmann, Agirretxe, Vela
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has a number of first team squad members out injured as he prepares for the match against Real Sociedad. Andres Iniesta and Pedro are currently sidelined with thigh injuries, along with long-term absentees David Villa, Andreu Fontas, and Ibrahim Afellay.
Seydou Keita is still on African Cup Of Nations duty with Mali but Barca have been buoyed by the sharp return to fitness of Alexis Sanchez, who was thought to be out for a number of weeks with a shoulder injury but featured in the recent matches against Villarreal and Valencia.
Dani Alves should come back into the starting XI after being dropped for the Copa del Rey match at the Mestalla on Wednesday.
Phillipe Montanier's side have a few slight worries for the match at Camp Nou. Asier Illarramendi has returned to ball work in training and Alberto de la Bella is progressing to full fitness, but neither will feature against Barcelona.
On a positive note for Sociedad, Vadim Demidov has returned to full training and could feature in some capacity against the Catalans.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- The last match between Barcelona and Real Sociedad ended in a 2-2 draw with Phillipe Montanier's outfit coming from two goals behind to earn a draw at the Anoeta.
- It has been four years since Barca recorded three successive draws. They drew 2-2 against Real Madrid, 0-0 in Villarreal and 1-1 against Valencia in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night.
- Carles Puyol scored his third goal of the season in the draw at the Mestalla. His tally for his club now stands at 12 goals in 535 appearances for the Catalan giants.
- Real Sociedad are currently 12th place in the Spanish Primera Division with 24 points taken from 20 games.
- Sociedad have scored 37 goals less than Barcelona in the league so far this season. The Txuri-urdin have netted 22 goals compared to Barca's 59.
- Real Sociedad have contributed to Barcelona's stuttering away form this season. Pep Guardiola's side have drew five times on the road in La Liga and one of those stalemates came at the Anoeta.
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Top 3 Predictions
Barcelona 5-0 Real Sociedad
- 17.58 %
Barcelona 4-0 Real Sociedad
- 13.1 %
Barcelona 3-0 Real Sociedad
- 12.4 %
|La Liga (LIGA)||22 Feb 2014||Real Sociedad 3 - Barcelona 1|
|Copa del Rey (ESPC)||12 Feb 2014||Real Sociedad 1 - Barcelona 1|
|Copa del Rey (ESPC)||5 Feb 2014||Barcelona 2 - Real Sociedad 0|
|La Liga (LIGA)||24 Sep 2013||Barcelona 4 - Real Sociedad 1|
|La Liga (LIGA)||19 Jan 2013||Real Sociedad 3 - Barcelona 2|
|16 Apr 2014||Barcelona 1 - Real Madrid 2||ESPC|
|12 Apr 2014||Granada 1 - Barcelona 0||LIGA|
|9 Apr 2014||Atlético de Madrid 1 - Barcelona 0||UCL|
|5 Apr 2014||Barcelona 3 - Betis 1||LIGA|
|1 Apr 2014||Barcelona 1 - Atlético de Madrid 1||UCL|
|12||Jonathan Dos Santos||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|2||Carlos Martínez Díez||Defender|
|3||Mikel González Martínez||Defender|
|11||Mikel Aranburu Eizagirre||Midfielder|
Sanchez's promising start to his Barca career was derailed slightly when he came off injured and missed just under two months of action in the last match against Sociedad in September, so the Chilean will certainly be out to extract some revenge against Phillipe Montanier's outfit.
Agirretxe is Sociedad's top goalscorer this season with five goals and it was his strike that earned a draw in the previous match against Barca in September. The frontman caused Pep Guardiola's side problems in the second half of that match, so expect him to make his presence felt again.
Barcelona have drawn three successive games for the first time in four years, and the previous match between the sides earlier in the season highlighted Barcelona's defensive frailties when they blew a two goal lead to draw 2-2. However, with the Camp Nou being the fortress that it is, expect a comfortable win for the Catalans.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed