Real Sociedad vs Barcelona preview

January 18, 2017
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Real Sociedad will be hoping to build on some excellent showings in Spanish La Liga and shock mighty Barcelona in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

The Catalans have finally raised their form after back to back setbacks against Athletic and Villarreal, and they can be trusted to take the game very seriously.

This has been a dream season for Real Sociedad, who haven’t enjoyed a great deal of success since they finished as runners up in La Liga back in 2003.

In spite of the fierce competition for Champions League positions, La Real are still very much in the race for a top 4 finish, sitting just two points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid.

The Basque side have played some great football under Eusebio Sacristan, both home and away, and they are also doing well in Copa del Rey.

After the 4-2 aggregate win over Villarreal, Real Sociedad take on star-studded Barcelona side in the quarter-finals and they are 9.0 (8/1) chance to qualify for the semis.

Asier Ilarramendi returns after he was rested against Malaga, while Carlos Vela could be back from a knee injury and Raul Navas is also expected to start.

Meanwhile, Carlos Martinez, Joseba Zaldua, Imanol Agirretxe, Mikel Bergara and Mikel Martinez are all sidelined through injury.

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

This season did not start well for Barcelona and it is now up to the Catalans to try and get their campaign back on track before it’s too late.

Sevilla did them a huge favour by defeating La Liga leaders Real Madrid last weekend, but Luis Enrique’s side cannot afford too many slip-ups if they want to defend the league trophy.

Meanwhile, it was Lionel Messi who cam to the rescue in Copa del Rey, as he scored important goals at San Mames and Camp Nou to help the Catalans record a 4-3 aggregate win over Athletic Club.

Following the 5-0 hammering of Las Palmas, Barcelona head to Anoeta high on confidence and they are priced at 1.62 (5/8) to make it three wins in a row.

The Catalans will be without Rafinha through a muscle injury, but Andres Iniesta and Neymar will be recalled to the side.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): ter Stegen – Roberto, Pique, Mascherano, Alba – Gomes, Busquets, Iniesta – Messi, Suarez, Neymar.

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