Everything was back to normalcy in the Barcelona camp with Messi and Suarez returning to the squad in their midweek Champions League clash against Celtic. However, Barcelona’s struggle without even one of the front three is quite evident and is surely a big concern for Luiz Enrique.
The Catalans had missed a chance to move closer to Real Madrid last week when their meeting with Malaga ended in an annoying draw with both Messi and Suarez missing the match. Although they won’t expect any kind of faltering when they visit Real Sociedad this week with their current form, their recent records say differently.
The Catalans have lost their last four league games at Anoeta, which is their worst run against any side. Their last win there came way back in 2007 and they are yet to win a game there since then. And, against no side has Luis Enrique lost more games (3) than Real Sociedad.
It is no doubt a tricky fixture for Barcelona and they have no other option but to win this if they want to be hot on heels of Real Madrid before the two face off in the Clasico.
Barcelona’s back four looks sorted with Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba returning to the first team. A positive news is that Jeremy Mathieu is also back in training and could return. The makeshift defence Enrique was forced to deploy in their absence looked quite uncomfortable, but they quite surprisingly did the job.
We expect Barcelona to start with almost the same back four as they did against Celtic, which is with Jordi Alba and Lucas Digne replacing Sergio Roberto, who will be flanking the defence line. The duo of Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique will be taking up the central defensive roles.
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