La Liga Preview: Real Sociedad - Barcelona

The champions are on the road as Pep Guardiola's men take on Real Sociedad at the Anoeta in their first away La Liga match of the campaign

Real Sociedad (4-2-3-1): Bravo; De la Bella, Demidov, I.Martinez, Estrada; Mariga, Aranburu; Xabi Prieto, Vela, Zurutuza; Agirretxe

Real Sociedad entertain the champions coming off a decent away victory at Sporting Gijon and should enter the game with relative freedom. Carlos Martinez was sent off against Sporting and will miss this match, and may be deputised by full-back Dani Estrada. In midfield, new loan signing Mcdonald Mariga may make his debut in place of young midfielder Illarramendi to add some strength and solidity in the midfield area next to Aranburu. Agirretxe is a shoo-in for a start after a brace two weeks ago and will likely be supported by the same trio behind him.

Barcelona (4-1-2-3): Valdes; Alves, Busquets, Mascherano, Abidal; Iniesta, Fabregas, Keita; Sanchez, Messi, Villa

Pep Guardiola is still without his first choice centre backs as Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol are shelved with injury. The Barcelona captain managed to train with the squad on Tuesday but is still not match fit, whereas Pique is still trying to get to full fitness in the gym. The Barca coach made a surprise change to a three-man defence against Villarreal last Monday, but with the return of Dani Alves, Pep may revert to his tried and tested formation of 4-3-3. Adriano also trained fully on Tuesday for the first time since the European Supercup but may not be match fit come Saturday. The Barcelona boss may opt for Keita in midfield to add steel for this away encounter.

  • Real Sociedad had three joint top goal scorers last season in La Liga, with Antione Griezmann, Raul Tamudo and Xabi Prieto all scoring seven goals each.
  • Sociedad have a habit of leaking goals towards the end of games last season in La Liga, having conceded 18 between the 76th and 90th minutes of play.
  • The home side's heaviest defeat last season came at the hands of this week's opposition, Barcelona, who won 5-0 at the Camp Nou.
  • Real Sociedad's home ground, the Anoeta, is used by two rugby teams who play in the French rugby league. Aviron Bayonnais, and Biarritz Olypmpique.
  • Barcelona scored the biggest portion of their goals between the 16th minute and the 30th minute in La Liga last campaign.
  • Lionel Messi attempted a shot on goal exactly 150 times last season in La Liga, 100 less than Cristiano Ronaldo.

  • Barca lost 2-1 at Real Sociedad last season, only the third time they were defeated by the Basque outfit in their last 28 meetings.
  • Barcelona's three biggest home wins last season were all 5-0 to Pep Guardiola's men and they came against Sevilla, Real Madrid, and this week's opponents, Real Sociedad.