Catalan giants conclude a busy week both on and off the pitch with a testing trip to Estadio Anoeta on Sunday night. La Liga runaway rivals are keen to extend their unbeaten run in the competition against a Real Sociedad side who lost their three consecutive matches against Barcelona.
Don’t let their current standings fool you, Real Sociedad are on a downtrend in La Liga. Three defeats in last five matches are here to attest it, whereas the bigger picture offers some more proof knowing that Real Sociedad lost five of last seven games in all competitions.
Eusebio Sacristan’s men managed only six La Liga triumphs in 18 matches thus far and should be satisfied with the 12th place in La Liga standings. Things could change dramatically for Sociedad though, knowing they are only eight points clear off the relegation zone. Real Sociedad are a side which was capable of surprising Barcelona in the past and three wins from last five home matches against the Catalans are there to confirm it. Given their poor run of late, however, we are not certain Real Sociedad will be able to get anything out of this fixture. Willian Joze and Oyarzabal are the two players to watch against Barcelona. Real Sociedad attacking duo combined for the total of 13 goals this season, almost half of their club’s total tally of 31.
Hosts will have certain selection issues knowing that no less than six players are likely to be unavailable for selection. Adnan Januzaj is having muscle problems, whereas Agirretxe, Martinez, Pardo, Rulli and de la Bella are all still treating their respective injury problems.
Busy Week Comes to an End
Philippe Coutinho becoming the second most expensive transfer in history with his €160 million move from Liverpool was just the beginning for Barcelona who completed another deal this week. The Catalans sealed a deal for Colombia defender Yerry Mina from Palmeiras to fill the void left by the imminent departure of Javier Mascherano.
It’s been a busy week on the pitch as well with Barcelona coming off from two matches in four days. La Liga leaders first beat Levante in La Liga with Messi, Suarez and Paulinho scoring a goal each for a comfortable 3-0 victory. Four days later, the Catalans saw off Celta Vigo with a compelling 5-0 victory in the second tie of their Last 16 matchup in the Copa del Rey. Leo Messi continued his impressive form with a brace, whereas Alba, Suarez and Rakitic completed the scoring. Past two games also marked the return of Ousmane Dembele who overcame his injury problems and is ready to continue – or better yet start – his Barcelona career.
Philippe Coutinho is likely to sit out the Real Sociedad match due to his thigh injury, whereas Paco, Rafinha, Turan and Umtiti are also unavailable for selection.
Top pick: Barcelona to win to Nil 3.00 (2/1) @BetVictor
Alternative pick 1: Leo Messi to score anytime 1.60 (3/5) @Unibet
Alternative pick 2: Both teams to score – no 2.43 (10/7) @888sport