Barcelona vs Real Sociedad. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats, and more

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Will the Basques manage to thwart Barca’s pursuit of second spot in La Liga?

FC Barcelona will host Real Sociedad in the La Liga 35th-round match at the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium. The fixture will take place on Tuesday, May 14, beginning at 00:30 IST.

Parimatch News will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.

Barcelona News & Current Form: 

For Catalans, the current season has concluded without any silverware, which is not surprising given Barça’s serious financial problems. Just a year ago, amidst tremendous efforts, Xavi led his charges to La Liga triumph, yet replicating such a feat has eluded him this season.

The Spanish coach has made frequent statements about his resignation. Following a defeat to Villarreal CF in late January, he announced his departure, only to rescind it after Barcelona progressed past SSC Napoli in the UEFA Champions League and embarked on a 10-match unbeaten streak in Primera, securing eight victories. 

However, the impact of Xavi’s words gradually waned, though the Catalan club managed to persuade him to reconsider and continue leading the team into the next season. Players themselves have voiced support for the coach, many of whom Xavi paved the way for in top-tier football.

In their last four outings across all competitions, Barcelona suffered three defeats, notably against Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid CF. In the latest fixture, they succumbed to Girona FC (2:4), conceding the runner-up spot in the La Liga standings to their rivals. However, the Blaugranes could regain second place within a week as Artem Dovbyk and Co. dropped points against Deportivo Alaves (2:2), leaving Xavi’s proteges trailing by just two points with one match remaining in the 35th round.

Securing second place holds significant importance for the Striped Ones, as it guarantees the last spot in the Supercopa de España, a lucrative winter tournament held in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, losing the derby, for the second time this season and by the same scoreline as the first leg, underscores the significance of the Catalan derby despite its historical insignificance.

In terms of team performance, only Real (74) and Girona (73) have scored more goals than Barcelona (70) in this season’s La Liga, both of whom currently sit above them in the standings. On average, the Catalans find the net 2.06 times per 90 minutes, with eight goals in their last three matches. Robert Lewandowski is in good form, having scored four goals in the previous two league games.

However, ahead of the match against Real Sociedad, a negative atmosphere has been stirred by the agent of Barcelona’s 19-year-old forward, Vitor Roque. Despite joining the club only in winter, Roque has seen limited playing time and remained on the bench for the last three La Liga matches. 

Rookie Vitor Roque has created a tense situation in his new club

Yet, he has already scored two goals, a feat not always matched by other forwards, prompting criticism, particularly aimed at Lewandowski. Nevertheless, Roque’s representative expresses frustration at his client’s lack of playing time, stating his belief that the youngster is the team’s top scorer per minute played.

As they approach the upcoming fixture, Barcelona face minimal personnel losses, with only three players sidelined – defender Alejandro Balde and midfielders Gavi and Frenkie de Jong, the latter of whom will not feature again this season for the club but may recover in time for the UEFA EURO 2024. The remaining squad members are poised to take to the field at the Olympic Stadium and reclaim their team’s second-place standing in the table.

Real Sociedad News & Current Form: 

The Basques will no longer secure a berth in the Champions League, as they did last season. However, under the guidance of Imanol Alguacil, there’s a promising opportunity for his team to compete in the UEFA Europa League, the second-tier European competition. Currently positioned sixth in the domestic league table, Real Sociedad stand a chance to clinch a spot in this continental tournament.

Maintaining the current position won’t come easy, especially considering Sociedad’s recent results, having won just one of their last four league matches. Following their elimination from the UCL by the hands of Parisians in the round of 16, Alguacil’s men embarked on a three-match winning streak in La Liga, overcoming Granada CF (3:2), Cadiz CF (2:0), and Alaves (1:0).

The best scorer of Real Sociedad with 9 goals to his name – Mikel Oyarzabal

And it seemed then that the team was on course to secure a Europa League berth comfortably. However, the Basques experienced a sudden dip in form thereafter. In the subsequent three Primera encounters, they managed to gather only two points. In the last round, the Blue and Whites finally delighted their fans with a victory over UD Las Palmas (2:0).

Ahead lies a daunting fixture list for Real Sociedad. Apart from encounters against Barcelona and Valencia CF, they face a showdown with formidable Atletico de Madrid. Conversely, their main competitor Real Betis have won three out of four matches in April and May, indicating a potential overtaking of the Basques. The two teams are set for a direct confrontation.

The visitors will surely feel the absence of one of their key players, Martin Zubimendi, who sustained a knee ligament injury. Also sidelined are Aihen Munoz, Kieran Tierney, Hamari Traore, and Carlos Fernandez.

Barcelona form guide: W-W-L-L-W-L

Real Sociedad form guide: W-W-D-D-L-W

Barcelona vs Real Sociedad Head-To-Head Record:

BarcelonaDrawReal Sociedad
  • January 25, 2023: Barcelona 1 – 0 Real Sociedad (Copa del Rey);
  • May 20, 2023: Barcelona 1 – 2 Real Sociedad (La Liga);
  • November 4, 2023: Real Sociedad 0 – 1 Barcelona (La Liga).

Barcelona vs Real Sociedad Predicted XI:

Barcelona’s possible starting lineup (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Cubarsi, Cancelo; Gundogan, Christensen, Pedri; Yamal, Lewandowski, Raphinha.

Real Sociedad’s possible starting lineup (4-3-3): Remiro; Odriozola, Le Normand, Pacheco, Galan; Benat, Mendez, Merino; Oyarzabal, Becker, Kubo.

Statistical preview of the match Barcelona vs Real Sociedad:

  • Barcelona’s First XI average age is 26.7 years, and Sociedad’s First XI average age is 26.8 years.
  • The total value of the hosts’ squad is 839 mln euros, while the total of guests comes up to 480 mln euros.
  • Guillermo Cuadra Fernandez has been appointed as the centre referee. The match official has already served 18 games this season, showing an average of 5 yellow cards and also whistles 28 fouls per game. 
  • In the last 5 games, Real Sociedad scored an average of 1.20 goals per game and conceded an average of 0.80 goals per game.
  • In the last 5 games, Barcelona conceded an average of 2.60 goals per game and scored an average of 2.00 goals per game.
  • On their field, Barcelona always act first and create scoring chances at 2.32 xG. On the road, Real Sociedad have an index of 1.28 xG. 
  • Barca violate the rules 11.24 times during their home matches, while Real Sociedad’s players break the rules on average exactly 17 times per match during away matches.
  • Barcelona have managed to secure a win with 2 goal difference at home in only 4 of 17 fixtures. Over the last 10 meetings involving Xavi’s wards, the average total of goals is exactly 3 goals per game. 
  • As for the club from San Sebastian, for the previous 10 games, the average total is at the level of 2.9 goals per game. The last 4 matches involving Barcelona turned out to be productive, and this one will not be an exception. 
  • Barcelona have won their last 4 consecutive home La Liga matches, and the Catalans’ unbeaten streak at the Olympic Stadium has already reached 6 matches (5 wins, 1 draw)
  • Sociedad lost only one away match out of the last seven in La Liga.
  • In the match of the first round between the 2 teams, a minimal victory was celebrated by the Catalans.
  • Barcelona have beaten Sociedad in 24 of the last 25 home meetings in the Primera.

What has been said before the match:

Xavi, the coach of Barcelona, reflects on the team’s opportunity to secure second place, citing Girona’s draw as a favorable circumstance:

“We have another opportunity to achieve second place because of Girona’s draw. A great opportunity, playing at home against a rival of extraordinary level. Imanol has been doing a beastly job for years. They generate a lot, he does a lot of things well for him. A tough opponent that will surely make it very difficult for us. We have trained well, the team is eager and tense to react.”

“It would be a setback, a step back, not to achieve the second position now. It’s a vital duel with four games. It would mean a lot to us. It’s always important, the goal of second place is very important. It gives way to another title for the following season and it’s important to finish with a good feeling for next season.”

“I have already commented that when we get the squad together to evaluate what we have done wrong. The approach to some games, the restructuring of the midfield, we had done differently in other games. There are things to readjust.”

“We have to recover this balance. Last year we were very good, but this year we have been weighed down by this lack of command, by more transitions and counterattacks. We have not been up to the task.”

Imanol Alguacil, the gaffer of Real Sociedad, reflects on their upcoming match against Barcelona, expressing confidence in their ability to replicate their previous victory:

“We can repeat the win against Barcelona, especially if we play the way we did here in Anoeta. They were very strong and beat us with a goal from a discount, having many more goal-scoring opportunities. If we can repeat this game, we will be close to winning. We are playing with ours and so are they. We will try to compete and win.”

“There’s more pressure there if you manage your own house, your own team.  But it’s good that Xavi already knew where they would put him. Already I said, when he knew he would not go on, that he would not go on and, fortunately for them, Xavi would follow him. I believe he will bear the pressure well”.

Barcelona vs Real Sociedad Prediction:

The hosts of the forthcoming game are no longer in contention for the La Liga crown (Real Madrid secured the title ahead of schedule after the last round), and the Catalans have also ensured their qualification for the Champions League 24/25. At the same time, it is crucial for Xavi Hernandez’s men to finish above their neighbours from Girona, having emerged second, as only this place will allow them to get into the quartet of clubs that will compete for the Spanish Super Cup in January.

Over the past few weeks, Barcelona’s defensive performances have slumped dramatically, conceding 9 goals in their last three games. Xavi is keen to close out the season brightly to build positive momentum for further rebuilding.  He expects to beat Real Sociedad in the next round due to his powerful attack, where the Catalan club has had no problems all season. Barcelona have seen an exchange of goals 5 times in 6 matches of the Primera Liga and the Champions League since 10 April. Now the Blue-Granates are riding on a series of 3 meetings with at least 3 goals scored, and by the average number of goals (3.3 goals per 90 minutes) they are among the top 3 most-prolific teams in the competition. Xavi’s crew produced an impressive 2.51 xG with 16 attempts on the road against Girona (2:4), however, they were lagging in defence, with the opponent accumulating 1.99 xG. Many players want to prove themselves for Barça and consolidate their importance in the squad in the upcoming season, so their motivation to make a good impression will be considerable.

In matches involving the Ryals, similarly to the vis-a-vis, both teams often manage to score: 6 of the recent 10 matches in all tournaments were with this scenario since the end of February). At home against Las Palmas (2:0), the Basques created 0.59 xG, playing at a moderate rhythm. Mikel Oyarzabal and his teammates also have plenty of incentive фы they need to consolidate on the 6th place in La Liga, which Real Betis also challenge. So far the Green and Whites are only 1 point ahead of Real Betis, who have one game in hand. 

Last season, the Blue-Whites defeated the Blue-Granates away (2:1). However, the bigger picture puts the hosts as favourites: in the last 15 confrontations in the league, Barcelona have won 12 times, drawn twice and lost only once. In the upcoming clash, the opponents will be going close to scoring all the game – they both act smoothly in attack, but they are problematic in the defence. Still, despite the certain instability the Catalans will be closer to victory as they have a stronger tournament motivation and set of performers. At the same time, the home stands will also be a massive factor, providing tremendous push-forward support.

Parimatch News staff prediction:

We say: Barcelona will not lose and both teams will score – Yes.

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