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Primera División

  • 30 April 2011
  • • 19:00
  • • Estadio Municipal de Anoeta, Donostia-San Sebastián
  • Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes
  • • Attendance: 24000
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Real Sociedad - Barcelona Preview: Catalans expected to rest stars ahead of second leg of Champions League semi-final

Real Sociedad - Barcelona Preview: Catalans expected to rest stars ahead of second leg of Champions League semi-final

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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



PROBABLE LINE-UPS
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.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • 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.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Claudio BravoGoalkeeper
11Vadim DemidovDefender
22Dani EstradaMidfielder
3Mikel González MartínezDefender
2Carlos Martínez DíezDefender
7Antoine GriezmannStriker
5Markel BergaraMidfielder
10Xabi PrietoMidfielder
19Diego RivasMidfielder
11Mikel Aranburu EizagirreMidfielder
20Raúl TamudoStriker
15Ion GorostolaDefender
17Zurutuza Midfielder
24Asier IllarramendiMidfielder
13ZubikaraiGoalkeeper
21Diego IfránStriker
-SutilMidfielder
4Gorka Gorka Elustondo UrkiolaMidfielder
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
2MontoyaDefender
15Gabriel MilitoDefender
3PiquéDefender
3Andreu Fontàs PratDefender
-Seydou KeitaMidfielder
6XaviMidfielder
6Thiago AlcántaraMidfielder
19Ibrahim AfellayMidfielder
10Lionel MessiStriker
-Jeffrén SuárezStriker
22Daniel AlvesDefender
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
7David VillaStriker
1Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
16BusquetsMidfielder
24Sergi RobertoMidfielder
Players to Watch
Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
35 16 5 0
Sociedad haven't offered a great deal by way of an attacking threat in recent weeks, but arguably their one exception has been young Frenchman Antoine Griezmann. He scored a couple in the recent victory over Sporting Gijon and will provide a source of discomfort for the guests from the left wing.
Ibrahim Afellay
Ibrahim Afellay
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 19
Games Goals YC RC
1 0 0 0
Dutchman Ibrahim Afellay can be very satisfied with the performance that he produced from the bench on Wednesday night against Real Madrid. Within minutes of coming onto the field he had created the breakthrough goal for Lionel Messi, and he would be a menace down the right in the closing stages due to his pace. After a somewhat uncertain start to his career with Barca, he is starting to settle and will relish the chance to shine from the start.
Prediction
Complacency is Barcelona's greatest worry going to Anoeta, which has proven an awkward venue for many sides in the past. Pep Guardiola generally primes his team well, and even sandwiched between two vital Clasicos, the Catalans will be expected to pick up the win, though keeping that ninth clean sheet may just be too much.
Editor's Prediction

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