Having seen their Champions League aspirations take another turn for the worse in Turin, Luis Enrique’s men turn their attentions back to the Liga title race as they prepare to welcome Real Sociedad to the Camp Nou.
Given the current state of the Spain’s title race, it’s set to be one of the highlights of the weekend. You can watch the drama unfold live from 7:45PM UK time. With a little luck, our selections will help land a healthy profit.
Barcelona Cannot Afford To Slip Up
Barcelona are only three points behind the leaders and still have the Clasico to come. However, the fact they’ve played one game more than bitter rivals Real Madrid means that they simply cannot afford to be dropping points in home games like this. If the Catalans are firing on all cylinders, that shouldn’t be an issue.
That’s not to suggest that Saturday’s showdown will be an easy one. Not only could tired legs come into play after the trip to Italy, but Real Sociedad are enjoying a great season too. Meanwhile, the champions also dropped points in November’s reverse clash.
The Blaugrana have registered two cup wins over their opponents this term, however, including a 5-2 triumph here. Both Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored on that occasion. With Neymar suspended, it will probably be up to those two to fire the hosts to victory.
This is a real test of Barca’s character, but it’s also a real opportunity for them to show Real Madrid that the title race is far from over. It’ll be fascinating to see which Barcelona arrives.
Can Sociedad Compound Barca Problems?
A trip to the Camp Nou is never going to be easy, but there’s probably never been a better time to face the giants. Of course, the wounded animal could bite back. Nevertheless, Sociedad will make this trip with every reason for optimism.
Eusebio Sacristan’s side haven’t been in great form recently. On a brighter note, though, they did bounce back to winning ways against Sporting Gijon on Monday and are still on course to qualify for next season’s Europa League. Even a draw in this difficult trip would boost their chances greatly.
The visitors certainly have goals in them, and have won over half of their away games in 2016-17 thanks to a return of 21 goals in 15 games. With Barcelona in a particularly vulnerable moment, there could well be an opportunity for them to put up a real fight in this one.
One way or the other, at least one team will be leaving the Camp Nou with huge disappointment. Whatever happens, it should be a thrilling 90 minutes of football.
Barcelona v Real Sociedad Betting
Despite their recent wobbles, Barcelona are huge favourites for this one at 1/6 with Ladbrokes. Real Sociedad, meanwhile, can be backed at 16/1. The draw is available at 11/2,
On their day, Barcelona can easily overcome any handicap line. On this occasion, though, the +2 Asian handicap in favour of the visitors looks very attractive.
Real Sociedad can even afford to lose by one goal while even a two-goal margin would result in a refund. While it’s hard to bet against Barcelona winning any given home game, this is one where they should have to work hard.
Nonetheless, we do think the hosts will claim the victory. Without Neymar, though, it may be up to some midfield players to support Suarez and Messi in the attacking third. Ivan Rakitic is probably the most likely source.
As an outside bet, we’re backing the Croat to open the scoring at 14/1.