MX23RW : Wednesday, July 28 03:35:54| >> :120:30871:30871:
Dec 14, 2019 at 3pm UK at Estadio Municipal de Anoeta (Donostia-San Sebastián)
Attendance: 36,543
Real Sociedad
Oyarzabal (12' pen.), Isak (62')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Griezmann (39'), Suarez (49')

Preview: Real Sociedad vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Real Sociedad and Barcelona, including team news and possible lineups.

Barcelona will be looking to make it eight straight wins in all competitions when they travel to Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday afternoon.

The Catalan giants are currently top of the table with 34 points, while Sociedad sit fourth having picked up 27 points from their first 16 matches of the 2019-20 campaign.

Match preview

Real Sociedad's Martin Odegaard in action with Atletico Madrid's Marcos Llorente in La Liga on September 14, 2019© Reuters

Boasting 27 points from their 16 matches this season, Sociedad are fourth in Spain's top flight heading into the next set of matches. They are only four points off third-placed Sevilla, who are one of just three teams - the other two being Barca and Real Madrid - to win more league matches than the White and Blues this term.

Sociedad are seven points off Barca with the champions having a game in hand, but there is no question that the Basque club will be encouraged by their form during the 2019-20 campaign.

Imanol Alguacil's side have only lost once in the league since the end of October, which came away to Real Madrid on November 23. Since then, they have beaten Eibar and drawn with Real Valladolid.

Saturday's match is actually Sociedad's penultimate La Liga fixture of 2019, although they will be in Copa del Rey action next week before finishing their year at Osasuna on December 22. A positive result against Barca could see them close the gap on Sevilla, who host Villarreal on Sunday night.

The omens are not exactly terrific for the home side, though, considering that they have lost their last five La Liga matches against Barca. That said, the Basque side did record a 1-0 win on home soil in April 2016, while they also held the Spanish giants to a 1-1 draw in November 2016.

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi celebrate a goal during Barcelona's Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund on November 27, 2019© Reuters

Barca have not always been at their free-flowing best this season, but the Spanish champions will enter this match off the back of a seven-game winning run in all competitions.

Ernesto Valverde's side have not actually lost a single match since Levante beat them at the start of November, winning their last four in the league to hold first position despite the form of Real Madrid.

Both Barca and Los Blancos have 34 points from their 15 matches this season, with the former boasting a record of 11 wins, one draw and three defeats. The Catalan side only lost three league games in the entirety of the 2018-19 campaign, which shows that they have not been quite in full flow this term.

Sociedad will be the fresher of the two teams considering that Barca were in Champions League action against Inter Milan on Tuesday night - recording a 2-1 win - but Valverde made a number of changes for the clash in Milan.

Lionel Messi also now appears to be fully over his early-season injury problems, with the 32-year-old, who was rested against Inter with one eye on this contest, scoring 14 times in his 15 appearances at club level during the 2019-20 campaign.

Real Sociedad La Liga form: LWDLWD

Barcelona La Liga form: WLWWWW
Barcelona form (all competitions): WWWWWW

Team News

Lionel Messi celebrates scoring for Barcelona on December 1, 2019© Reuters

Sociedad have no fresh injury concerns from the side that drew 0-0 with Valladolid last weekend, although Ruben Pardo, Asier Illarramendi and David Zurutuza are still unavailable for selection.

Central defender Robin Le Normand will also serve a one-game ban after picking up a booking last time out, but Joseba Zaldua will be available having served a suspension of his own against Valladolid.

Willian Jose should again lead the line for the home team, while on-loan Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard is also expected to keep his spot in the starting XI.

Barca, meanwhile, will again be without the services of Ousmane Dembele due to a hamstring problem, while Arthur is still struggling to overcome an adductor issue.

Nelson Semedo remains absent due to a calf injury, although Jordi Alba is making progress in his recovery from a muscular problem and could potentially be involved this weekend.

Messi, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Luis Suarez will all return to the XI having been left out of the side against Inter, but Antoine Griezmann should keep his spot in the final third.

Rest Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Remiro; Zaldua, Llorente, Gorosabel, Monreal; Portu, Odegaard, Guevara, Merino, Oyarzabal; Willian Jose

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo; De Jong, Busquets, Rakitic; Griezmann, L Suarez, Messi

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Real Sociedad 1-2 Barcelona

It would not be a surprise to see Sociedad pick up a result, but it is difficult to back against Barca considering their form. We fancy the Spanish champions to put another three points on the board.

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Lionel Messi celebrates scoring for Barcelona on December 1, 2019
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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