Monday, November 19, 2018

Prediction: Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 16/25

Bookmaker: 888sport

FC Barcelona currently sit at the top of the La Liga standings with three wins out of three matches, but are about to take on one of the toughest visits in the competition since they will travel to San Sebastian to take on Real Sociedad. La Erreala might have won just one of their first three games this season, but Barca have always had problems playing in this venue. It will be interesting to see how Barcelona will solve Sociedad’s puzzle in this one. The game kicks off at 15:15 hrs this Saturday.

Real Sociedad

It is quite clear that Real Sociedad have not endured the start of the season they were hoping for. La Erreala began the campaign with a solid 2-1 away win over Villarreal, but have failed to win their most recent two matches and currently own a W1, D1, L1 mark, good for four points and the eighth place in the standings after three matches. Will they able to pull the upset and secure the three points at Anoeta against the reigning Liga champions? Real Sociedad have scored at least once in their three games during the current season so they can easily complicate the opposing defence, and the track record against Barcelona helps them as well. The Donostiarra side have lost just once in their last five home matches against Los Blaugranas (W3, D1, L1) in league play, and even reached a seven-game undefeated run before last season’s 2-4 defeat. That is an impressive resume considering the kind of opponent Barcelona are. But will that be enough, especially knowing how depleted the side currently is?

Team News

It is not an overstatement when we say Real Sociedad’s injury report looks like a hospital. Up to five players have been ruled out for this game.

Jon Guridi (knee), Adnan Januzaj (knee), Diego Llorente (ankle), Martin Merquelanz (knee) and Willian Jose (groin) are all out. Meanwhile, Sandro Ramirez (knee) and David Concha (groin) will require a late-fitness test to determine their availability. Quite a long list, isn’t it?

FC Barcelona

On the other hand, Barcelona have started the season on fire. They began the year with a convincing 3-0 win over Alaves, then they scrapped a hard-working 1-0 away win at Valladolid, and later thrashed Huesca 8-2 at home. That’s 12 goals scored in only three matches, while keeping a clean sheet in two of them. And some people believe Barcelona are a bit weaker than last season for losing Andres Iniesta… when it seems it is the exact opposite. Los Blaugranas will try to extend their winning run on a venue that has been historically complicated for them, since they have won just 18 out of 71 all-time games at Anoeta while registering a negative goal differential of -8. It might sound crazy, but the historical numbers certainly place Barcelona as the underdog heading into this tie. But if we look at their current form, they should be considered as massive favourites. Will they back that up, or will history play a role in this one?

Team News

Malcom and Sergi Samper have both been ruled out due to ankle problems. Meanwhile, Denis Suarez will be a game-time decision due to a muscular problem.

Arguably the biggest news could be Arturo Vidal starting for the first time. The Chilean logged 75 minutes during Chile’s most recent international match, and seems ready to take on a bigger load minutes-wise.

Key Factors to Consider

  • As we mentioned above, Barcelona’s numbers at the Anoeta in LaLiga aren’t encouraging. They register only 18 wins, as opposed to 24 draws and 29 defeats in 71 games.
  • All three of Real Sociedad games have had both teams scoring. On contrast, Barcelona have kept a clean sheet in two of their first three Liga contests.
  • Real Sociedad’s three games this season have also seen over 2.5 goals scored. The same outcome has repeated in two of Barca’s three games.
  • Three of their last four matches (all competitions) have seen over 2.5 goals AND both teams scoring.
  • Barcelona have won their last five games against Real Sociedad across all competitions.

Conclusion

Both teams have scored in Real Sociedad’s three league matches. Plus, La Erreala will have a hard time closing down a team that has already scored 12 times in only three matches. I definitively see both teams scoring at least once in this game.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 16/25

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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