Match Preview: Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona (game 25 liga 2013/14)

Real Sociedad 1-1 Barça Pedro 2014There is no letting up. Four days after securing an excellent 0-2 first leg win over Manchester City in the Champions League, Barça travel to San Sebastian for an extremely tough game against Real Sociedad in round 25 of La Liga (Saturday 8 pm). Tata Martino’s men recently secured a place in the 2014 Copa del Rey final after a 3-1 semi-final aggregate win over the Basques, but the second leg 1-1 draw at Anoeta left Barça without a win in San Sebastian since 2007.

While on the subject of the Copa del Rey final I should mention that after yesterday’s meeting between Barça, Madrid and the Federación Española de Fútbol the game will be played at Mestalla on Wednesday 16 April at 9.30 pm. The decision will give the clubs more time to prepare for the Champions League semi-final should they qualify but unfortunately gives little thought to supporters who once again face a late midweek kick-off the night before a work day. Athletic Club’s visit to Camp Nou in round 34 of La Liga, which was originally scheduled for the weekend of 19/20 April, has now been moved to Wednesday 7 May. Don’t make too many plans though, the way things are run in Spanish football they could easily switch the date again if Barça are knocked out of Europe.

The other big news this week is the ongoing saga of Neymar’s transfer. If previously the case was focused on a personal action against Sandro Rosell, Judge Pablo Ruz has now decided to open a case against Barça as an entity for a possible tax fraud of €9.1 million. Josep Maria Bartomeu stated again yesterday that Barça have done nothing illegal and there is a strong feeling in Barcelona that this is all part of a Florentino-inspired anti-Barça campaign. Personally, I admit I have little idea if Barça are guilty or not, it seems there was certainly some creative accountancy going on in the deal, but we’ll just have to wait and see whether a court decides it was legal or not.

Real Sociedad 1-1 Barça Iniesta 2014Events off the field should not be allowed to influence the team’s progression. For tomorrow’s trip Martino is without Jordi Alba with a slight hamstring problem and the Argentinian coach has also decided to leave Puyol, Oier, Sergi Roberto, Cuenca and Afellay off the list for the match. With the top three teams tied on 60 points and just 14 games to play any dropped points could now prove impossible to recover and Barça will not want to be behind Real Madrid in the table when the two rivals meet at the Bernabéu on March 23.

Besides the direct clashes of the Bernabéu Clásico and the final game of the season at home to Atlético, tomorrow’s meeting at Anoeta could be classed as Barça’s most difficult remaining league game, though the team still needs to play at Espanyol and Villarreal. La Real haven’t lost at home in La Liga since a 1-2 reverse against Atlético on September 1 which leaves them with an impressive league home record of seven wins, three draws and just the one defeat with 27 goals scored and just seven conceded.

With no midweek game next week and given the difficulty of the task, Martino will want to play his strongest team tomorrow though there will most likely be two or three changes to the side that won at City. Adriano will almost certainly replace the injured Alba while there’s a good chance that Pedro or Neymar could get a start at the expense of Alexis or one of the midfielders.

Real’s coach Jagoba Arrasate is without the injured Imanol Agirretxe but recent signing Sergio Canales could keep his place in the team after a showing a good understanding with Antoine Griezmann and Carlos Vela in the 0-1 win at Malaga last weekend.

Barça’s 18-man squad: Valdés, Pinto, Alves, Montoya, Bartra, Piqué, Mascherano, Adriano, Song, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Alexis, Pedro, Messi, Neymar, Tello.

Possible teams:

Real Sociedad: Bravo; Zaldua, Iñigo Martínez, Ansotegi, José Ángel; Bergara, Zurutuza; Xabi Prieto, Canales; Griezmann; Vela.

Barça: Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Adriano; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Neymar.

Prediction: Real Sociedad 1 Barça 2

Date: Saturday 22 February 2014. Kick-off 8 pm local time.

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6 Responses to Match Preview: Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona (game 25 liga 2013/14)

  1. Pingback: Match Preview: Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona (game 25 liga 2013/14) | FC Barcelona 4 Ever

  2. FCB4LIFE says:

    ill be brave to predict a 4-0 Barcelona victory. with goals from Neymar, Messi, Fabregas and Iniesta. But what I really hope is for Xavi to be replaced by Song and for Bartra to replace Mascherano in the starting eleven.

    I am much worried about the continual lack of sting and decisiveness in Xavi’s game lately. He doesn’t seem to be the General I know these days. Xavi still maintains good possession, however, in a game like this, Alex Song should be given a shot as a box to box midfielder.

    Why Bartra and Song should be in the line-up? Let’s focus on the City game.
    We were extremely lucky that City played us in such a defensive manner. I dare confirm that if City had more than 6 corners that night. We would have been burried already. The height factor should never be ignored. Bartra may lose out to Mascherano in experience and sliding tackles by a small margin but last I checked at 184 CM tall, he is 9 CM taller than Mascherano……Song is atleast 11 CM taller than Xavi as well…..while he may not be awesome at passing……but i reckon HE STILL is in the top 25 best passers in La Liga. So why not some beef eh?

  3. FCB4LIFE says:

    THEY BOTH NEED A GAME LIKE THIS TO GET THE EXPERIENCE AND CONFIDENCE LEVEL UP FOR BIGGER GAMES- CITY, BAYERN, R.MADRID, A.MADRID, CHELSEA, PSG etc

  4. FCB4LIFE says:

    LET US ALL NOT FORGET THAT SONG WAS RVP’S MAIN ASSIST MAN IN THAT FINAL SEASON BEFORE HE CAME TO BARCELONA. YES, HE IS STILL BELOW BUSQUETS AT DM, HE DID POORLY AS A CENTER BACK…..BUT WHAT ABOUT A BOX TO BOX MIDFIELDER? HAS HE BEEN REALLY SERIOUSLY GIVEN ENOUGH CHANCES TO SHOW US WHAT HE COULD DO? CAN ANYBODY TELL ME HOW BIG OF A RISK THIS IS? BECAUSE I DON’T SEE THIS AS A RISK AT ALL. WHY DO WE HOPE FOR XAVI TO SUDDENLY TURN UP WHEN WE HAVE SONG? HAVEN’T WE FORGOTTEN THE AGE FACTOR. XAVI COULD COME IN DURING THE 65TH MINUTE FOR SONG IF HE IS COMPLETELY LOUSY. NO?

    • I’d be happy to see Song play a more forward role in midfield and according to the local press he may well get a chance tonight. El Sport and El Mundo Deportivo predict a similar XI with the only difference being who will partner Bartra in central defence. They say we will play with – Valdés Montoya Bartra, Puyol (EMD)/Piqué(Sport), Adriano; Song, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Neymar.
      In other news Pinto has got a fever and may have to pull out of the game. Oier has been called up as a precaution.

  5. http://pranaypurohitt.blogspot.in/ .. guys this a brand new blog that i have started … its all about us cules… i just want to make fc barcelona cules come together … lets make this family large 🙂 viscaaaa el barcaaaaaa….. support a fellow cule… :)!!!!!!!!!

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