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August 19, 2012
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: José Luis González González
• Attendance: 57721
L. Messi 11', 16'
David Villa 84'
G. Castro 9'
Thanks for your participation, superb as always. I've been Tom Woods - see you next time.
And that's the end of the game. Devastating stuff from Barcelona, but what else would you expect? 5-1, and they pretty much shut up shop after 50 minutes. There will be tougher challenges to come if they are to win back the league title, but this was a pretty perfect warm up.
We are into the first of two added minutes.
A promise piece of attacking play from Sociedad comes to an end when Vela scoops a ball through to nobody, and out of play. Montanier's side have put up a spirited fight, but have been outclassed in every department. They will be pleased to get this fixture out of the way, you feel.
This game looks to have run its course. I hope you lot all put good money on your 5-1 predictions.
Still no hat-trick for Messi though. It looks like Iniesta was fouled as he exchanged passes with Alves inside the area, but as the ball breaks Messi clips his shot wide. Replays show he was offside however, so he probably meant it.
What a perfect ending to this game. Villa showed so much emotion in celebrating that fifth goal. What an asset he will prove to be this season.
Yellow CardDavid Villa
AssistAndrés Iniesta Luján
GGOOAALL BARCA! David Villa, we have missed you. That is the goal of the night too. Iniesta jinks his way to the byeline, and cuts the ball back for the returning striker to slot an exquisite finish home. How he enjoyed that one. 5-1 Barca.
Yellow CardJon Ansotegui
But he will keep trying, of course. Messi beats two men, and one of them, Ansotegui, reacts by pulling him back. Obvious booking for the centre-back.
Maybe the hat-trick isn't going to come. Jordi Alba has has a great game out on the left, and his cross is slammed towards goal by the no.10. Bravo is down smartly to make the save.
The new Barca coach is prowling the touchline, now with arms behind his back. His fierce complexion is going to become a famous sight before too long, you feel.
Brilliant. Xavi sends across a corner and David Villa attempts a glorious overhead kick. He was nowhere near the ball. But the gesture itself gets a round of thunderous applause.
Villa's first touch is greeted by a massive cheer. And the second. And the third. Now Jordi Alba is exchanging back-heels with him inside the area. This is delightful. Somebody get this man a goal.
Indeed it is. Pedro comes off, and to an almighty Catalan roar, here comes David Villa. If Barca have slowed the pace here a bit, they have just been given a reason to find a fifth goal.
Asier Illarramendi is down and needs treatment. This could be Barca's time to make their final change.
But before that, Sociedad are going to make a change. One debutant, Gonzalo Castro, is replaced by another, Jose Angel.
We are moments away from David Villa's return. Get ready for a huge cheer.
Yellow CardAlberto De la Bella
There's a booking for de La Bella, who trips Dani Alves as the Brazilian bursts forward. Clear foul.
Alba gives the ball away, but after charging 40 yards upfield, Griezmann can only find Pique with his attempted through-ball. Bit of a let-off for the new left-back.
...but Messi fires straight into the wall. The wait goes on for the hat-trick.
Iniesta tricks his way past Bergara, and is brought down. Free-kick 25 yards from goal...
At least now Sociedad have a recognised striker on the pitch. But still, the young Mexican is going to need all the help he can get. Barca haven't created too much in the second half, but they have had almost total control of the ball.
Gorka Gorka Elustondo Urkiola
Carlos Vela has come on for Real Sociedad, replacing Elustondo. They fancy giving this a go, by the looks of it.
Xavi is the latest Barca player to try his luck, and the midfield maestro sees his 30-yard drive tipped round the post by Bravo. Really was a good save, actually. That was in the bottom corner all day long.
The crowd breaks into enthusiastic applause at the sight of David Villa warming up. Wonder if he'll be making his first-team return before this game is out...
Ouch. Mikel Bergara and Pedro go sliding in for the ball, and the Barca player takes a set of studs to the inside of the thigh. That's one to make the eyes water. He looks OK to continue though.
Griezmann took my words of encouragement well, and beats two challenges on a rare run forward. Then Pique absolutely tanks into him and the ball is gone. Ah well.
Andrés Iniesta Luján
Confirmation of that change, as Iniesta replaces Cesc Fabregas in the Barca midfield. It's just unfair.
Andreas Iniesta is about to come on. No mercy from Barcelona here.
Poor Antoine Griezmann. The French forward is getting further and further away from his midfield, and substitute Pique does not look like he is going to give his man a sniff of the ball. Keep going Antoine. You never know.
Dani Alves is off after a long-ball from Fabregas, but he is well marshalled by left-back Alberto de la Bella. Not happening in an attacking sense for the Brazilian just yet.
More stunning, first-time passing from Barcelona almost creates their fifth goal. Messi and Pedro exchange one-touch tiki-taka, and the Argentine slams a shot into the side-netting. He'll get there eventually, don't you worry.
Carles Puyol hands the captain's armband to Xavi, and jogs from the field to be replaced by Gerard Pique. Good return from injury for the no.5.
Another poor pass from Busquets concedes approximately three seconds of possession. It's not much, but in this team, that counts as a pretty huge error.
A very timely header from Estrada takes the ball off the toes of Tello, as the Spaniard was shaping to smash home Dani Alves' cross. They all want a piece of the action here.
We're underway, and Barca are attacking. For a change.
And another 5-1 prediction from @Mexzi. Right then, let's see if you're all correct. Here comes the second half.
@snowpyrate predicts the same score - "Barcelona to thrash Sociedad 5 -1"
From @ZinedineHassan - "Absolutely amazing from Messi, seems to get better every season! My prediction, a 5-1 win for Barca"
Barca hit 5 in their first game of last season, but tonight they look like they could go well beyond that. But how many? Hit me up on Twitter - @woodstome with your predictions.
So who's had the best half there? Messi's two goals are almost predictable, such is his ridiculous scoring record. But youngster Cristian Tello has had arguably the best of the play at times, beating Estrada every time he takes him on, and showing some superb touches. Being involved with three goals is fitting reward for the show he has put on so far.
There goes the whistle. A typical 45 minutes in the recent history of FC Barcelona. Four goals, could have had more, and already a party atmosphere inside Camp Nou. The only question is how many more they can get. Sit back and enjoy everyone, this is special.
Standing with arms folded on the sideline, Tito Vilanova looks pensive as this first half draws to a close. Surely he's more or less happy with what he's seen here. Certainly the fans are.
So this one is essentially over. And Barca have definitely been in second gear. Just think what they could do when they've got warmed up.
GOOALL BARCA! But like I say, the attack is just sublime. Barca's passing is effortless in the final third. Here, the ball is worked rapidly out to Tello on the wing, and his cross is side-footed back across goal by Pedro into the far corner. So beautiful, and so easy.
Yellow CardJavier Mascherano
Decent delivery from lllarramendi, and Ion Ansotegui sends a powerful header just wide. For all their attacking verve, Barca could have definitely conceded more this evening.
Booking for Mascherano. The Argentine is caught out by the bounce of the ball, and having been out-paced by Castro, pulls his man to the floor. Cynical challenge. Sociedad with a free-kick out on the right wing.
Woah! What's he doing? From half-way, Gorka Elustondo spots Valdes off his line and tries the most spectacular lob you ever will see. The Barca keeper, furiously back-peddling, is forced into a flying save to tip the ball over the bar. What an attempt that was.
Messi almost has his third, but is denied by a good block from Bravo. The Argentine and Fabregas carve the defence asunder with a one-two, but the Chilean keeper is out quickly to block the shot with his legs.
Yellow CardXabi Prieto
Xabi Prieto has been booked for a deliberate handball as he jumped with Mascherano. Looked a pretty clear decision, that.
On the run, Messi clips an absolutely gorgeous chip into the path of Cesc Fabregas. Unfortunately, it was too good for even the former Arsenal man to read, before it was over his head and Bravo could claim. It's frightening at times, it really is.
...bit of a push by Puyol, well more of a barge, and the free-kick is given against him.
Some glorious one-touch passing from Alba, Xavi and Tello releases the young Spanish winger, and Sociedad concede the corner...
There's a half-chance for Alberto de la Bella, as the left-back finds some room to fire a shot wide of Valdes' near post. It was the same area that Castro found room for the goal, so Barca might want to keep an eye on that from now on.
Busquets gives the ball away, but Sociedad's three-man midfield can find no way through Barca, and are forced to go all the way back to Bravo in goal. Easy to forget how well this side defends sometimes.
Barca are all doing their share of defending actually, with Sociedad looking to ping a few long passes at them and chase the ball relentlessly. Nothing causing any damage so far.
Mascherano easily shepherds the ball out of play with Griezmann giving chase. He's become quite an accomplished defender in his time there, has the Argentine.
Hello, what's this? A Sociedad free-kick? Could be a chance here... no. Puyol heads comfortably away and we are back in Barcelona territory. A superb overlapping run by Jordi Alba is hacked away by Mikel Gonzalez for a corner. This is exhausting.
So within 20 minutes of Barcelona's season, Messi has already scored twice. Strange that I'm not even surprised to type that. The man is simply ridiculous, and is at the heart of every attack at the moment. Only a Gorka Elustondo stops him from connecting with another cross from Tello, who has looked exceptional over on the left wing.
No, in fact Xavi takes the free-kick, but only finds the wall. Brief, brief respite for Sociedad as the ball runs out of play.
Barca win a free-kick after Pedro slaloms through a crowd of defenders, and is caught by Mikel Bergara. Messi for his third?
GOOOAL BARCA! Told you. The ball just kept coming back at Sociedad there, and they have been punished. It's Messi again, as the 25 year-old cuts across his man to toe-poke Tello's cross beyond Claudio Bravo.
Almost a ridiculously quick hat-trick from Messi, who heads just over from Dani Alves' squad. You have to say, it has been a good Sociedad performance so far, but the attacking play from Barcelona here is absolutely devastating.
OK, everyone breathe. That was a mad few minutes, but Messi's goal seems to have restored the balance of power. Sociedad do look extremely spirited on the counter-attack, but as Barca stroke the ball around in front of goal, you get the sense that they can almost score at will.
GOOAALL BARCA! This is some game. Tello's cross into the box is mis-controlled by Messi, but Pedro plays it straight back to him, and the rest is history. Three men beaten, right-foot shot, top corner. Barca didn't like being behind much.
GOOALL SOCIEDAD! Well, where was the Barca defence there. Asier Illarramendi sweeps a first time role behind Dani Alves, and Gonzalo Castro is through on goal. He takes a touch before ramming an unstoppable finish into the roof of the goal. 1-1. Game on.
Jordi Alba is finding plenty of room to get forward on the left, and has already sent a number of searching balls into the Sociedad box. Fitting in seamlessly by the looks of it.
Chance! Goodness me, Sociedad came close there. Xabi Prieto finds some space to float a ball across goal, and new signing Castro is inches away from getting a telling touch. Excellent opening here.
GOOOAALL! Well that didn't take long. The aforementioned long ball is headed out for a corner, Xavi whips it in, and Carles Puyol meets it with a thumping header. Bosh. 1-0 Barca.
OK, it's very early on and I've already seen two long balls miss their target? Who are these guys?
Sociedad appear to have lined up with Frenchman Antoine Griezmann at the centre of their attacks. Considering he normally operates as a midfielder, that gives you an idea of the mentality they are taking into this game.
The whistle goes, and the sixth fixture of La Liga, week one is underway.
Kick-off is moments away- keep those thoughts coming over to me on Twitter via @woodstome.
The teams are heading out, led by tonight’s referee, Jose Gonzalez Gonzalez. Barcelona, as you might expect, are in the famous blue and red. So you’ll have to wait for that tasty-looking orange and yellow away strip until another day.
So what chance an upset here tonight? Prior to kick-off, Montanier has certainly acknowledged the incentive, quality and expectation that Barcelona have to succeed here. Having lost six of their last eight games against the Blaugrana, and with one of the worst away records in the division last year, all signs point to a home win. But perhaps last season’s fumble has reminded the league that this side is fallible after all.
Confirmation that champions Real Madrid have drawn 1-1 at home to Valencia. Over to you Barcelona...
SOCIEDAD LINEUP: (4-3-3): Bravo; Estrada, Ansotegui, Gonzalez, De la Bella; Elustondo, Bergara, Illarramendi; Prieto, Castro, Griezmann Bench: Zubikarai, Angel, Ros, Pardo, Cadamuro, Agirretxe, Vela
BARCA LINEUP: (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Xavi, Fabregas; Tello, Messi, Pedro Bench: Pinto, Roberto, Pique, Adriano, Iniesta, Sanchez, Villa
For Sociedad, coach Philippe Montanier hand a league debut to Uruguayan midfielder Gonzalo Castro, who has arrived from Mallorca. Carlos Vela, signed from Arsenal on a permanent deal, will start on the bench alongside Jose Angel, brought in on loan from Roma.
Here’s your TEAM NEWS for tonight’s game. Vilanova’s first game in charge has thrown up a couple of surprises. Sticking with the tried and tested 4-3-3, the new coach hands a debut to Alba at left-back, but the attacking force of Andreas Iniesta and Alexis Sanchez will be starting on the bench tonight, in favour of Pedro and Cristian Tello. Lionel Messi, however remains in attack, and you have to wonder what delights the Argentine has in store for us in 2013. Are there any records left to break?
After last season’s relative failure, Barca were quick to add to their squad, sealing the arrival of Jordi Alba from Valencia. Arsenal’s Alex Song is expected to complete his move from Arsenal at any moment, and David Villa’s return from a season-long injury will feel very much like a new acquisition too. Essentially, this is a stronger, fresher and hungrier Barcelona than we saw this time twelve months ago. Watch out Real Sociedad.
So here we are, at the home of one of the greatest sides football has ever seen. But, my friends, all is not well with Barca. Having hauled in a frankly pathetic four trophies last season, coach Pep Guardiola is no longer at the helm, and his assistant Tito Villanova is now tasked with returning the La Liga title and Champions League to what many believe are its rightful owners. The sight of Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid lifting the league trophy will have hurt, and with Los Merengues currently locked at 1-1 with Valencia, there is an important statement to be made here by the Blaugrana.
Any thoughts or predictions you’d like to share? Whack them over to me via @woodstome on Twitter, and I’ll get as many comments as I can into the live feed.
Welcome Camp Nou, for Goal.com’s coverage of Barcelona – Real Sociedad. I’m Tom Woods. Good to have you along.
Good evening one and all. It’s an absolutely baking night in Catalunya, and in front of around 90,000 spectators, some of the finest sportsmen in the world are limbering up to bring us an exhibition of their talents. Ah, football. How we’ve missed you.
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