Barcelona vs Real Sociedad
Barcelona are back playing catch-up for top spot in La Liga after their El Clasico defeat to Real Madrid. They are only a point behind their fierce rivals, but they will be desperate not to have any more slip-ups that could allow Real to extend their lead.
Barca face a tough test up next as they face Real Sociedad. La Real have been on quite a roll over the last couple of weeks and will head to the match full of confidence after making the final of the Copa del Rey.
However, history will not be on Real Sociedad’s side as they have struggled to find success at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona looking to bounce back
Barcelona had their fair share of issues under Ernesto Valverde, which was why he was sacked earlier this year. However, the appointment of Quique Setien hasn’t solved those problems, which continue to persist on the pitch.
That has been made clear once again in their last two matches away to Napoli and Real Madrid. Setien has already tried several systems during his short stint at the Camp Nou, but he still hasn’t found one that works. His 4-4-2 formation with four central midfielders against Real Madrid was unsuccessful.
But Barca’s struggles aren’t all Setien’s fault. He hasn’t been helped by the lack of options, especially up front, which have been exacerbated by injuries to key players such as Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.
Barca have had to rely even more on Lionel Messi to lift the attack. Unfortunately, he wasn’t up to the task against Real.
However, a return home to the Camp Nou against a less-than-stellar Sociedad defence could be just what Messi needs to get back on track. The last time Messi played in front of his home fans, he erupted for four goals as Barca blew away Eibar, 5-0.
And of course, there’s also Barcelona’s impeccable home form. They’ve won 19 of their last 20 La Liga matches at the Camp Nou, with the only match they didn’t win a 0-0 draw against Real in the first Clasico of this season.
Real Sociedad in sensational form
Real Sociedad’s season just keeps getting better and better. Not only are they in sixth place and right in the thick of the Champions League race, but they are also in the final of the Copa del Rey for the first time in 32 years after defeating Mirandes 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals.
Thanks to Sociedad’s cup run, they have won nine of their last 10 matches in all competitions. That includes a 2-1 win against rivals Athletic Bilbao in the Basque Derby.
Granted, seven of those matches were at home, but to their credit, they still won all of them. They also grabbed a famous 4-3 win against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in the cup and were actually 4-0 up before Real staged a late comeback.
La Real’s attack has been a big strength this season. They are tied for third with 43 goals in 25 league matches thus far. But instead of relying on one or two stars, they have done it as a collective.
Willian Jose leads the team with eight goals, although he has scored just once in his last 11 appearances. Alexander Isak, Portu, and Mikel Oyarzabal all have seven goals apiece, while Martin Odegaard has four.
But that big win over Real aside, Sociedad’s La Liga 2020 results away from home have not been great. They have just five wins in 12 away matches, with two draws and five defeats. More concerning is the fact that they have scored just 16 goals.
Real Sociedad held Barcelona to a 2-2 draw at the Anoeta in their first meeting this season. Mikel Oyarzabal gave them an early lead, but Barca struck back with goals from Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez. But Alexander Isak rescued a point for the hosts with a 62nd-minute equaliser.
Prior to that draw, Barca had beaten Sociedad in seven consecutive matches. La Real’s last win over Barca was back in 2016.
Meanwhile, you’d have to go all the way back to 1991 for Sociedad’s last win at the Camp Nou. They have only three wins all-time in 71 away trips to Barcelona (seven draws, 61 losses).
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