Barcelona vs Real Sociedad preview

January 25, 2017
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Neymar’s penalty goal made the difference in the first leg, getting the Catalans one step closer to the Copa del Rey semis, but don’t expect Real Sociedad to give up without a fight.

La Real have played some great football this season and they will be looking to prove they can match even the best sides in Spain.

Seeing that they currently occupy third place in the La Liga standings, we can safely say things have not been going according to plan for Barcelona.

The Catalans have impressed in some games, but struggled in others, so they clearly need to improve if they want to turn the season into a success.

Four straight victories in all competitions saw Barcelona close the gap behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid, while also edging closer to the Copa del Rey semi-final.

After the 1-0 triumph at Anoeta, the Catalans have been made 1.30 (3/10) favourites to win the return match and extend the bright run of results.

Sergio Busquets has injured his ankle in the 4-0 hammering of Eibar and it is Andre Gomes who should take his place in front of the back four.

This means that Ivan Rakitic will finally get a chance to impress after struggling for playing time, while Andres Iniesta and Rafinha remain sidelined.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): ter Stegen – Vidal, Mascherano, Pique, Alba – Rakitic, Gomes, Turan – Messi, Suarez, Neymar.

Real Sociedad’s dream season continues as the team are showing no signs of slowing down after the remarkable start to the season.

La Real’s Copa del Rey campaign seems about to end as mighty Barcelona are proving a very difficult task, but it is La Liga that has the priority at the moment.

Real Sociedad are tied with fourth-placed Atletico Madrid midway through the league campaign and they stand a very good chance of securing European qualification.

A top 4 finish is also a realistic possibility, although it is fair to say that los Colchoneros have the upper hand due to superior quality and wealth of experience.

La Real players admit that winning at Camp Nou is next to impossible, but they will nevertheless give their best to make life difficult for Barcelona.

The visitors will have Asier Illarramendi back from suspension, but Mikel Gonzalez, Carlos Martinez, Mikel Bergara and Imanol Agirretxe are out injured.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Rulli – Elustondo, Raul Navas, I. Martinez, Yuri – Prieto, Illarramendi, Zurutuza – Vela, Willian Jose, Oyarzabal.

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