Real Sociedad – Barcelona 19.01.2013
Real Sociedad aim to extend their unbeaten run at home to six league games and maybe inflict Barcelona with the first defeat of the season, whereas the Catalans will be very motivated to make amends for the 2-2 draw with Malaga in Copa del Rey.
It was not too long ago that Real Sociedad were vying with Real Madrid for the La Liga title, and while the Basque side are no longer a top Spanish side, they are certainly going in the right direction. The team have progressed a great deal under French coach Philippe Montanier and established themselves as one of the most exciting sides in the elite division. With the likes of Griezmann, Agirretxe and Vela all contributing to attack, Real Sociedad have been scoring goals for fun, especially at their Anoeta. After losing 4-3 to Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu, they are expected to play another high-scoring game, this time against the other El Clasico rival. Considering that Barcelona are on top of their game at the moment, I’m sure the hosts wouldn’t mind if they repeat the 2-2 result achieved in the same fixture last season.
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There’s not much I can say about Barcelona that you don’t already know, although it appears Tito Vilanova has got them playing their best football in years. The 18-point advantage over Real Madrid shows how impressive the Catalans have been in the first part of the season, and while some other teams might get complacent in a similar situation, we can be sure that is not going to happen with Barcelona. After the under-strength side failed to beat Malaga in the Copa del Rey semi-final, the Catalans will give their best to return to winning ways in style, so we can certainly expect a lot of fireworks at Anoeta. With Messi, Pedro and Iniesta all likely to start, there is every chance we will see goals galore in this match. Bear in mind that 13 of Barca’s last 14 league games featured at least three goals.