Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Prediction: Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: 888sport

FC Barcelona have not had an easy time when travelling to San Sebastian of late, but Los Blaugranas will get another chance to keep themselves nearly top 10 at top of the Liga standings if they manage to win against Real Sociedad on the road, something they have not been able to do in quite a while. The game starts this Sunday at 19:45 BST.

Real Sociedad

It is safe to say Real Sociedad have not had the kind of the season they wanted thus far. The Basque side sits in 13th place of the Liga standings with a W6 D5 L7 record, and they have been struggling of late since they register just one win over their last five contests. They are also coming off a 1-3 loss against the Sevilla and got kicked out of the Copa del Rey in the last few days, so there are lots of things to fix within the team before even thinking of mounting a challenge against the current league leaders. The one thing that they might have going for them is the fact that Barca tend to struggle when playing at San Sebastian, a venue where they have not won since 2007, when Los Blaugranas registered a 2-0 win. But history is in the past now. And Sociedad will have to play one of their best games of the campaign if they want to get something out of this one.

Team News

Real Sociedad do not have confirmed absentees ahead of this game. However, they could have up to four players missing since all of them are doubtful.

We are talking about Imanol Agirretxe (thigh), Inigo Martinez (calf), Ruben Pardo (ankle), and Alberto de la Bella (knee). All four would need a late-fitness test to determine their availability ahead of this match.

FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona might be struggling when they travel to San Sebastian but if there is one team that can break this streak, is this one. Los Blaugranas have been dominating the league from start to finish, and we would need a massive breakdown from them in order  to NOT win the Liga title. Aside from being the lone undefeated team in the Liga, they also have an impressive record of seven wins and two draws in just nine matches away from Camp Nou Stadium. One of the big reasons why Barca have been in such a torrid form has been the play of Lionel Messi, as the Argentinian superstar already has 16 goals and seven assists this season at the Liga level. He registered two goals and one assist during Barca’s 5-0 win over Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey this past Thursday. San Sebastian might be a struggle for them, but there is no question Barca are well equipped to end their negative streak in that venue.

Team News

Barca are a bit more depleted when it comes to their depth. Star signing Philippe Coutinho has been ruled out with a thigh injury, and others are doubtful ahead of this contest.

Among the doubtful players we can find Gerard Deulofeu (knee), Rafinha (knee), Paco Alcacer (muscle) and Samuel Umtiti (undisclosed). Although to be honest, the lone absence that would be missed is the one of Coutinho, as the others barely play.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Four of Real Sociedad’s last five games at home have seen over 2,5 goals. The home side has scored at least twice in three of those outings.
  • Barcelona are undefeated on the road. They have an excellent record of W7 D2 L0 away from Camp Nou.
  • As if that wasn’t enough, Los Blaugranas have both the top attack (48 goals scored) and defence (seven goals conceded) in the league so far.
  • It is worth noting that Barcelona have struggled when travelling to San Sebastian. They have a W0 D2 L5 in their last seven trips to Sociedad’s home.
  • Barcelona are riding a 14-game undefeated streak at home this season. If we remove the Spanish Super Cup, then Los Blaugranas are yet to lose on the road this season.

Conclusion

FC Barcelona have the best attack in LaLiga, but they also have the top defence. And while Real Sociedad have struggled a bit more than expected this year, they remain a dangerous team at home.

Barcelona might win it, but it is likely to be an open game. Expect both teams to score in this one.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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