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Real Sociedad vs Barcelona predictions: Go for goals at Anoeta
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Dan Sait
Robert Lewandowski was a big summer signing at Barcelona and surely will find his feet sooner rather than later
Robert Lewandowski was a big summer signing at Barcelona and surely will find his feet sooner rather than later

Barcelona have been the club to watch over the summer, spending close to £200m on transfers despite being over £1bn in debt and initially unable to register players to play. 

That has not deterred a host of big-name players from joining, with Robert Lewandowski, Andreas Christensen, Raphinha, Franck Kessie and Jules Kounde all heading to Camp Nou. 

Four of them had to wait until the evening before Barcelona’s first match before LaLiga ratified their signature, while Kounde still awaits his registration. 

By any measure, it has been a chaotic, noisy pre-season of Barca’s ‘economic levers’ being pulled and unwanted players being pushed towards the exit but the team made a far quieter start on the pitch, drawing 0-0 at home to a Rayo Vallecano side who finished 12th last season. 

The Catalans dominated but it was a disjointed performance befitting of a squad in transition and Rayo came away from the match knowing they could have nicked victory in a game of few clear-cut chances. 

Xavi’s side will improve as new players settle in but will they improve in time to beat Real Sociedad? 

Team news

Kounde remains unable to register for Barcelona unless the club sells a player in time to comply with LaLiga’s financial rules. 

Midfielder Sergio Busquets is also unavailable after getting sent off against Rayo Vallecano and is likely to be replaced by either Kessie or Frenkie de Jong. 

The latter impressed off the bench last weekend after a summer in which the club have tried to force the Dutchman out. 

Even though they failed to link up to any great effect last weekend, Xavi is likely to persist with the front three of Lewandowski, Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele as the Barcelona manager looks to build an understanding among his new-look frontline. 

However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ansu Fati will be doing their best to force their way into their manager’s plans after settling for a place on the bench last week. 

Real Sociedad are without a host of attacking players with winger Mikel Oyarzabal out until mid-October with a cruciate ligament rupture, Martin Merquelanz absent with a knee problem and centre-forward Carlos Fernandez nursing a hamstring injury. 

Right-back Alex Sola also has a hamstring issue that will keep him out of this match and left-back Diego Rico will miss out after picking up a thigh injury last weekend. 

The stats

Barcelona’s opening-day struggles did not come totally out of the blue as the Catalan giants have now failed to win five of their last nine LaLiga outings. 

Sociedad impressed in their opening win away at Cadiz, deserving a greater winning margin than 1-0, but manager Imanol Alguacil has long had the knack of picking up points against the lesser lights without finding a way to upset the big boys. 

His team did not take a single point off Real Madrid or Barcelona last season and won only one of 16 games against other teams who finished in the top nine of LaLiga — a similar record to 2020-21 when they won only one of 12 meetings with the top seven and again lost home and away to Barcelona. 

Indeed, it is 16 meetings since they last beat the Catalans, with Barcelona winning 12 of those encounters. 


Barcelona boss Xavi has plenty of attacking options after a busy summer
Barcelona boss Xavi has plenty of attacking options after a busy summer

That Barcelona have taken a massive gamble off the pitch is undeniable — their famous ‘economic levers’ involve the selling off of club assets — but they have massively strengthened the squad with the cash generated. 

Lewandowski and Raphinha will click soon enough and with the likes of Aubameyang and Fati struggling to even get into the first XI, Xavi certainly is not lacking for firepower. 

However, the defence looked shaky at times against Rayo Vallecano and the suspension of Busquets further undermines Barcelona’s solidity. 

Both Kessie and De Jong arguably improve the attacking quality of the team but neither possesses Busquets defensive nous. 

Real Sociedad may struggle against the strongest opponents but are a good team in their own right, finishing in the top six in each of the last three seasons. 

And while Alguacil is missing several key attackers, he still has former Manchester City favourite David Silva floating around behind highly-rated attacking prospect Alexander Isak, which gives Sociedad plenty of goalscoring threat at their San Sebastian base. 

Both teams could chip in to an entertaining, goal-filled encounter.


Real SociedadBarcelonaLaLigaDavid SilvaRobert Lewandowski
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