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La Liga: Barcelona’s Big Chance to Bring Down Sociedad


La Liga: Barcelona’s Big Chance to Bring Down Sociedad

Barcelona vs Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad and Barcelona find themselves in quite unusual positions in the La Liga table at the moment. La Real are currently still in top spot, although they are tied with Atletico, who still have two games in hand.

Meanwhile, Barca are way back in eighth place as they’ve struggled to put together a string of positive La Liga 2020 results.

But the Catalans have a great opportunity to pick up their biggest league win of the season to date when they host the leaders at Camp Nou.

La Real will not be in the best of form heading into this big match and will also be without a couple of key players.

Talking Points

Barca still struggling for consistency

Barcelona are still trying to find consistency in the league under Ronald Koeman. Since winning their first two games of the season, they’ve won just three of their next seven matches, with four defeats and two draws.

After back-to-back big losses at Cadiz and against Juventus in the Champions League, they bounced back to beat Levante 1-0 over the weekend.

For the third game in a row, Lionel Messi attempted over 10 shots — he finished with 12 — and scored the winning goal. But still, it was a bit concerning that it took him and Barca such a tough time to break down a Levante side struggling in the relegation zone.

With wingers Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele out, Koeman decided to play a front four of Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho, and Martin Braithwaite, which did not have much width.

It remains to be seen whether Koeman will decide to start teenager Pedri to add a different dimension to the attack against Sociedad.

On the other end, centre-back Samuel Umtiti has come on as a substitute in each of Barca’s last two matches. Although, it might still be too soon for him to start after such a long layoff. Ronald Araujo still looks more likely to continue starting alongside Clement Lenglet at the heart of Barca’s defence.

Sociedad keep racking up stalemates

The good news for Real Sociedad is that they are now 10 games unbeaten in all competitions — and nine matches unbeaten in La Liga — after picking up a 1-1 draw against Eibar over the weekend. But the not-so-good news is that that was also their sixth straight draw and third in a row in the league.

It should be a bit concerning for manager Imanol Alguacil that his side was outshot 16-8 at home by Eibar. They also couldn’t beat a struggling Alaves side that was a man down for the last half-hour of the game.

It’s unsurprising that Sociedad’s recent offensive struggles have coincided with Mikel Oyarzabal’s absence due to a muscle injury. The Spanish international forward is La Real’s top scorer this season with seven goals, and his expected absence against Barca will be a huge blow to their La Liga 2020 odds of scoring a major upset.

Portu, the team’s second-leading scorer with four goals, and David Silva were only substitutes against Eibar, but they are likely to return to the starting line-up at the Camp Nou.

La Real will also still be without starting centre-back Aritz Elustondo due to broken ribs. 21-year-old Modibo Sagnan did not impress against Eibar, so Alguacil could turn to midfielder Igor Zubeldia to partner Robin Le Normand at the heart of their defence.

History

Barcelona have absolutely dominated Real Sociedad in their historical head-to-heads. The Catalans have gone undefeated in each of their last eight league meetings, with six wins and two draws. And over the last 23 meetings, Barca have a 15-5 edge, with three draws.

La Real’s last win over Barcelona came back in 2016. But Barca have won each of the last 20 matches at the Camp Nou.

Although, Sociedad were quite competitive against the Catalans last season. They drew 2-2 at home, then narrowly lost 1-0 at Camp Nou as Barca won thanks to a Messi penalty.

Betting Tip

1X2 Draw @ 4.10

Despite Real Sociedad looking much better and more consistent in the early part of the season, SBOTOP odds still have Barcelona installed as massive 1.59 favourites to beat the leaders at Camp Nou. La Real are priced at 4.90, while a draw is 4.10.

Given Sociedad’s recent run of results, those odds on another stalemate certainly look intriguing. Even with Oyarzabal’s absence, they still look like the more cohesive unit than Barca at the moment, so look for them to put up a good fight at Camp Nou.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 


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