FC Barcelona faces a daunting task on Thursday taking on at Reale Arena, formerly known as Anoeta Stadium. A place that has been Barça’s nightmare stadium rather than a regular fixture in La Liga. As things stand currently, Barça now needs to win their remaining matches to keep fighting for the 2nd place and keep the pressure on Real Madrid for the La Liga title. Although Real Madrid is only 3 wins away from winning the title.
The “Xaviball” effect has come to a halt following the loss from Frankfurt in Europa League. Then a surprise home loss to Cadiz on Monday. Real Sociedad on the other hand will be aiming for a top 4 finish since 2013, currently in 6th place – 5 points behind Atletico. Real Sociedad is coming into this game on the back of 5 game winning streak and will want to continue its winning ways.
Real Sociedad, will be without its star players like Mikel Oyarzabal, Nacho Monreal, Carlos Fernandez & Ander Barrenetxea through injury. It’s notable star player who has been in outstanding form, David Silva is out of the contest through suspension. As things stand for the Sociedad coach, he could make changes in the formation, probably a 4-4-2 with Portu coming on in right midfield.
Real Sociedad possible starting line-up
Remiro; Zaldua, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Rico; Merino, Zubimendi, Rafinha; Isak, Sorloth, Portu
For Barça, Ronald Araujo’s availability for this game is a huge boost in the defense. Also, Gerrard Pique’s ace center-back too might be back after his groin injury to partner Araujo. Dani Alves is also expected to make a return to the starting line-up having missed the previous game due to some discomfort. Pedri is set to miss the remainder of the season with a hamstring problem. Samuel Umtiti and Sergi Roberto are unlikely to be involved despite recently returning to training. Ansu Fati is getting closer to a first-team return but is not expected to be in the traveling squad.
Barcelona possible starting line-up:
Ter Stegen; Araujo, Pique, D. Alves, Alba; F de Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Dembele, Aubameyang, Torres
Player to watch for
He holds the key to unlocking the defense as he has been doing this season since Xavi’s arrival as the coach had some encouraging words for the player’s commitment during the last game. Dembele has 11 assists this season – more than any other Barca player in La Liga and most noteworthy being improved his fitness in the current season. It’s a crucial week for him too as his contributions could a make a worthy impact on the game.
He is the one to watch out for the Whites & Blues ready to make up for the notable players and he looks to be on the scoring sheet having only 5 goals and 2 assists so far.
Real Sociedad 2 – 3 Barcelona
As a part of seven finals, being dubbed by the media, the Catalans surely know that only victory does stand a chance to keep the pressure on the league leaders and challenge for the title.
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