Barcelona will look to get back to winning ways when they take on Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou this weekend in the La Liga.
The Catalans have had to endure a horrible week, having lost 2-0 to Malaga in the weekend in the Spanish top division, before being put to the sword by Juventus in the UEFA Champions League which ended in a 3-0 defeat on Tuesday. Manager Luis Enrique will be hoping to arrest this downslide against La Real and put some pressure on Liga leaders Real Madrid ahead of the El Clasico next week.
The two teams have met thrice already this season, with Sociedad beating Barcelona 1-0 in the league encounter. But the Blaugrana got the better of their opponents in the 2 legs of the Copa Del Rey quarterfinals winning both games with scorelines of 1-0 and 5-2.
Barcelona have been dealt a bitter blow as they will be without their star attacker Neymar, who is suspended for 3 games while defender Javier Mascherano is also ruled out after picking up an injury against Juventus. Rafinha Alcantara too remains unavailable due to a meniscus injury while Aleix Vidal has been ruled out for the season. There is some good news though for Enrique, as Arda Turan returned to training on Wednesday after having been unavailable since the international break.
The German shot-stopper was shaky against Juventus in the Champions League. He will look to put in an improved display on Saturday.
The Spanish international has been one of the better players for Barcelona this term but has found himself in and out of the team in recent weeks due to his off the field controversies. He will start against Sociedad.
Probably his game was the only positive from the performance against Juventus, Umtiti has been growing in stature with each passing game. Definite starter.
The Frenchman has been a real liability at the back in recent weeks, but due to a lack of options in the ranks, he will occupy the third centre-half spot at the back.
The utility player has played in all sorts of positions this term and he will take the field at Camp Nou on Saturday on the right-hand side of the midfield.
The Spaniard was missed badly against Juventus due to suspension. He will return to the playing XI and slot into the anchor role.
The Croatian had an off day in the midweek in the Champions League. He will be looking to bounce back and put in a strong display.
The summer arrival will come into the playing XI in place of veteran midfielder Andres Iniesta. The 23-year old hasn’t had a great campaign, with just 3 goals and 3 assists to show for. He will want to make an impact at the business end of the season.
The Spanish left-back has rarely been used in recent weeks by Enrique, but he should be in line for a return to the playing XI, slotting in on the left-hand side of the midfield.
With Neymar absent, Messi will be under more pressure to provide the creative spark in the attacking third. He will play in a central role just behind the main striker.
Leading the line will be mercurial striker Luis Suarez. After 2 poor games against Malaga and Juventus, the Uruguayan will be keen to get back to goal-scoring ways.
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