Real Sociedad vs Barcelona Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Barcelona will be looking to make it eight straight wins in all competitions when they travel to San Sebastian to take on Real Sociedad on Saturday afternoon.

The Catalans’ immense run of form has seen them climb to the summit of La Liga, with Real Madrid matching their 34-point tally after a similarly lengthy unbeaten run of their own – the pair, of course, meet in El Clásico on Wednesday night.

Despite their fine run and the form of Lionel Messi, the trip to the Anoeta Stadium will be anything but an easy one.

Martin Odegaard

Sociedad have been one of the surprise packagesof the season so far, currently sitting fourth in the table after a ninth-place finish last time out. The form of creative mastermind Martin Odegaard (three goals and four assists), crafty winger Mikel Oyarzabal (five goals and four assists) and prolific finisher Willian Jose (seven goals) have been key for Txuri-urdinak (yes, that’s their nickname) through 16 La Liga fixtures. 

Here’s 90min’s preview of Saturday’s La Liga clash.


Where to Watch

When is Kick Off?? Saturday 14 December?
?What Time is Kick Off? ?15:00 (BST)
?Where is it Played? ?Anoeta Stadium
?TV Channel/Live Stream ?La Liga TV
?Referee ?Javier Alberola Rojas


Team News

Sociedad have no fresh injury concerns from the side that drew 0-0 with Valladolid last weekend, although Ruben Pardo, Asier Illarramendi and David Zurutuza are still unavailable for selection.

Central defender Robin Le Normand is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season last time out. Meanwhile, Joseba Zaldua will be available having served a suspension of his own against Valladolid.

Arthur

Barça, meanwhile, will again be without the services of Ousmane Dembele due to a hamstring problem, while Arthur is still struggling to overcome an adductor issue.

Nelson Semedo remains absent due to a calf injury, although Jordi Alba is making progress in his recovery from a muscular problem and could potentially be involved this weekend.

Messi, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Luis Suarez will all return to the XI having been left out of the side against Inter, but Antoine Griezmann should keep his place in Barça’s front three.


Predicted Lineups

?Sociedad  ?Remiro; Zaldua, Llorente, Gorosabel, Monreal; Portu, Odegaard, Guevara, Merino, Oyarzabal; Willian Jose
?Barca Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo; Busquets, De Jong, Rakitic; Messi, Suarez, Griezmann?

Head-to-Head Record

This will be the 51st meeting between the two sides, with the Catalans generally getting the better of Sociedad in the past. Saturday’s visitors have won 32 of the meetings while Sociedad have come out on top on just eight occasions.

Clement Lenglet,Mikel Oyarzabal

The Basque side have, however, proven to be a ‘bogey’ team for Barcelona in the past. The Catalans once went 11 years without a league victory at the Anoeta Stadium before breaking the curse with a 1-0 win in January 2017.

Last season, we saw Ernesto Valverde’s side win both encounters by a 2-1 scoreline.


Recent Form

Despite their healthy position in the table, ?Imanol Alguaci’s Sociedad side have endured an indifferent run of form as of late – winning just two of their last six.

After tearing apart a sorry Eibar side with a second-half blitz which saw them score three times, Txuri-urdinak were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw away at Valladolid last weekend. Imanol’s side were wasteful in front of goal as just two of their 16 shots were on target, striker Jose, meanwhile, had an afternoon to forget.

Nevertheless, this will be another great test for this exciting Sociedad side. So far this season, they’ve recorded a home win against Atletico but have since struggled against some of Spain’s finer outfits – losing 3-2 away at Sevilla and 3-1 to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. 

Ansu Fati

Their task will be even harder with the form that Valverde’s men are in ahead of this one, they’re playing that well that they can beat the leading team in Serie A with a second-string starting XI. Barça’s 2-1 win over Inter, in which La Masia graduates Carles Perez and Ansu Fati both scored, was mightily impressive and showed that Barca’s youngsters can play a pivotal role for Valverde as Barca’s fixture list starts to clog up as the season progresses. 

While Messi’s been doing Messi things and Luis Suarez has found his goalscoring form once more, it’s also worth noting that at the back, Clement Lenglet has been excellent this season for La Blaugrana and Ivan Rakitic has enjoyed a strong resurgence since coming back into the fold against Dortmund last month.

Here’s how these two have fared in their last five encounters.

?Real Sociedad Barça?
?Valladolid 0-0 Sociedad (08/12) ?Inter 1-2 Barça (10/12)
?Sociedad 4-1 Eibar (30/11) ?Barça 5-2 Mallorca (07/12)
?Real Madrid 3-1 Sociedad (23/11) ?Atletico 0-1 Barça (01/12)
?Sociedad 1-1 Leganes (08/11) ?Barça 3-1 Dortmund (27/11)
?Granada 1-2 Sociedad (03/11) ?Leganes 1-2 Barça (23/11)

Prediction

Will Barça’s hot streak come to an end on Saturday afternoon? Quite possibly.

This is a Sociedad side that can score goals from anywhere; Oyarzabal and Portu on the wings both have an eye for goal, Willian Jose is a natural goalscorer and Odegaard is the ultimate technician who can hurt you from central midfield. They’ve also shown to be competent defensively as well – conceding just 18 in 16.

Antoine Griezmann,Frenkie De Jong,Ivan Rakitic,Lionel Messi

Overall, this is a tough, tough fixture for Barça with one eye on El Clásico in the week. But, their form and the fact that some of their key men got rests during the week means they should get something from this one. A draw wouldn’t be surprising at all.

Prediction: Real Sociedad 1-1 Barcelona

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