The title race in La Liga is finally on again. Barcelona’s hope to clinch domestic titles might still be open after all. They already reach the final in Copa del Rey and now only have four points behind Atletico on the top. This weekend, they will be taking on Real Sociedad, which is still eyeing for UCL spot next season. They are sitting on the fifth in the standings.
The teams’ previous matches
Real Sociedad had to suffer a 0-1 defeat while travelling to Granada. Mikel Oyarzabal and Co were unable to optimise a number of chances and conceded instead by German Sanchez’s deflected goal.
Barcelona, on the other hand, easily secured a win after hammering Huesca 4-1. Messi scored a brace, followed by Antoine Griezmann’s long range strike and Oscar Mingueza’s maiden goal through his header. The visitors only responded once by Rafa Mir’s penalty. Such victory bumped them to the second on the table.
Imanol Alguacil has been in favour of 4-3-3 formation with the transition to 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1. The frontmen role will be occupied by Alexander Isak, Portu and Mikel Oyarzabal. In the midfield, Mikel Merino will be the anchor alongside David Silva and possibly Martin Zubimendi.
Meanwhile, Ronald Koeman would be deploying 3-4-2-1 with Messi-Griezmann and behind Ousmane Dembele upfront. In the midfield, Pedri and Sergio Busquets will still be operating in the middle while Jordi Alba and Sergino Dest are on the flanks. Frankie de Jong would be dropping off as the centre back as well as defensive midfielder. On their injury table, there are Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Ansu Fati and Phillipe Coutinho and Moussa Wague who are still unavailable for this fixture.
Players to watch
The two frontman, Alexander Isak and Ozaryabal are key men on their attack. Both have scored 22 goals and provided eight assists combined. Another key man to watch is Mikel Merino, the anchorman in the midfield who has bagged two goals and made four assists so far.
Leo Messi is still the top performer in the Catalan side with 26 goals and nine assists in La Liga and Champions League. Some other notable names to watch are the Dutchman Frankie de Jong who has been deployed to several positions and the versatile Pedri, who has contributed two goals and three assists so far in La Liga.
Real Sociedad vs Barcelona Prediction
The game might be tricky for both sides. Yet, Barcelona will have a slightly better chance to win since they have been out of the Champions League so that they can refocus on their domestic campaign. Messi and Co’s positive trend shall endure here with a narrow win at least, especially since Ronald Koeman has been confirmed to have full support from the newly elected president, Joan Laporta.
Ronald Koeman’s men are only the slight favourite here. They are projected to win at 21/20, whereas Sociedad’s odds to win are quite lower at 27/20. The odds for the draw result are at the value of 56/19.