High-flying Real Sociedad face a tough challenge as they head to the Nou Camp to play Barcelona in this midweek La Liga fixture. The Catalan giants are in turmoil at present though, and certainly susceptible to the upset on Wednesday night.
Where and when: Nou Camp – 16 December, kick-off 20:00
Where you can see Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad: Premier Sports
Last time: Lionel Messi scored a late penalty as Barcelona snuck a 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad back in March.
Barcelona v Real Sociedad Predictions and Preview
Messi has had a turbulent ride since scoring the winner the last time these teams met, while few could’ve predicted the mess Barcelona now find themselves in. Under normal circumstances, we’d expect the Blaugrana to beat Real Sociedad comfortably, but circumstances are far from normal right now.
The empty Nou Camp stands will only help the away team, who’ve enjoyed a superb start to the season. La Real find themselves up in the Champions League places and riding high near the top of the La Liga table approaching a third of the way through the campaign.
Imanol Alguacil’s side have proven incredibly tough to beat, only losing one of their opening 12 matches, prior to their home game against Eibar on Sunday. Sociedad will also have a little extra recovery time ahead of this fixture, with Barcelona’s game against Eibar kicking off seven hours later.
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Barcelona to win and BTTS
Barcelona to win 2-1
Messi to score first
Even so, and despite all of their struggles, the home team head into this Barcelona v Real Sociedad preview as the 8/13 favourites with William Hill. Ronald Koeman’s side suffered another painful defeat in losing 3-0 at home to a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Juventus in the Champions League last midweek, adding to their shock 2-1 defeat against Cadiz.
Koeman has been constantly putting out fires in his first months in the Nou Camp hot seat, with his reign unlikely to last too long depending on how next month’s presidential elections pan out. Louder noises have reportedly started to emerge from the Barcelona dressing room suggesting the players are unhappy with the Dutchman’s 4-2-3-1 formation, in another blow to the Blaugrana coach.
Given all their issues, a Sociedad victory is far from out of the question. Indeed, it’s only priced at 4/1 in the latest odds for this game, showing how vulnerable Barca are at present. However, the visitors will be missing key men David Silva, Mikel Oyarzabal and Asier Illarramendi through injury, as well as Jon Guridi and Luca Sangalli.
With that in mind, a draw would probably still be seen as a great result for them, and that’s available at 17/5. However, Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 10 games against Sociedad, winning eight of those. They have an outstanding record against La Real at the Nou Camp, with 24 straight home wins in this fixture, and simply have to win this game.
One to watch for Barcelona: Lionel Messi was the match-winner the last time these teams met, and Barcelona need their captain to start firing on all cylinders before this season gets away from them. The Argentine No.10 is the 13/5 favourite to open the scoring in these Barcelona v Real Sociedad predictions.
One to watch for Real Sociedad: With top scorer Mikel Oyarzabal out injured, there’s more pressure on Spanish forward Portu to perform on Wednesday. The 28-year-old has already scored four goals so far this term, which is as many as Messi has managed, and he is 11/1 to move one ahead of the Barca man by breaking the deadlock here.
Long shot: La Real haven’t got a result at the Nou Camp since a 1-1 draw all the way back in 1995, losing on each of their 24 visits since. Barca are arguably more vulnerable than in any game since then though, with a 1-1 draw on Wednesday priced at 15/2. With Portu scoring first, those odds rise to 101/1.