After their famous win on Wednesday evening, Pep Guardiola's side travel to the Basque Lands, where they will attempt to take a step closer to the La Liga title
|Real Sociedad (4-2-3-1): Bravo; Martinez, Ansotegi, Demidov, Estrada; Rivas, Aranburu; Prieto, Zurutuza, Griezmann; Ifran.
There has been little movement on the injury front for Zaragoza this week as they have not registered any fresh problems. Indeed, their squad could actually be in a stronger state than it was for last weekend’s derby loss against Athletic Bilbao as Joseba Llorente could return to action following a hernia problem.
The former Villarreal striker, even if he is passed fit, is unlikely to be risked from the outset and is liable to be restricted to a cameo role.
|Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdez; Alves, Mascherano, Milito, Montoya; Thiago, Busquets, Keita; Jeffren, Villa, Afellay.
Given the state of play in the league, with Barca comfortably leading the table, Pep Guardiola may consider some squad rotation for Saturday’s difficult fixture in San Sebastian. Injuries to a number of players may prevent him from making the wholesale changes he might like, with Adriano, Maxwell, Eric Abidal and Bojan Krkic all missing. It would be a surprise if Andres Iniesta was to be risked.
After coming on to great effect in midweek, it is likely that Ibrahim Afellay will be given a significant chance to impress once more.
- After a positive start to the season, Real Sociedad find themselves being quickly sucked into the relegation battle after a poor run of four points from a possible 27.
- Their recent record against Barcelona is cause for concern as they have failed to win any of their last four home matches against the Catalans, losing two but drawing two.
- Sociedad’s last home win against the Camp Nou outfit came in 2002.
- No side in La Liga has lost more matches after going ahead this season than the Basques, who have achieved this unwanted feat six times.
- Barcelona in recent history have an excellent record against Sociedad, keeping eight clean sheets in a row against Saturday’s opponents.
- No team has ever managed to record nine successive shut-outs against the same opponents in the history of Spain’s top flight.
- Pep Guardiola’s side may have beaten Real Madrid 2-0 away from home on Wednesday in the Champions League, but two of their last three league games on the road have ended all-square.
- Lionel Messi has had a direct hand in five of Barcelona’s last six league goals, scoring four and creating the other.
- Messi scored his 51st and 52nd goals of the season against Real in midweek, improving the new benchmark for strikes in a solitary Spanish campaign.