Real Sociedad 2-2 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Barca Slip Up in La Liga Title Race

Barcelona took a point’s lead over Real Madrid in the Spanish title race on Saturday afternoon, though could fall behind their rivals ahead of the upcoming Clasico following their draw 2-2 at Real Sociedad.

?Sociedad started much the better team and won a penalty after 12 minutes when Sergio Busquets pulled down Diego Llorente in the penalty area. Mikel Oyarzabal stepped up and confidently dispatched the spot kick.

Mikel Oyarzabal

?Barca really struggled to get going for the first 45 minutes, with Sociedad controlling possession and the game in general. However, with just seven minutes left of the half, Barca hit their opponents on the break and Antoine Griezmann delicately chipped the ball over Alex Remiro to make it 1-1.

The reigning champions then came out of the blocks quickly in the second half, as ?Lionel Messi was played in one on one with the goalkeeper after a sublime pass from Busquets. However, the little magician opted to pass to ?Luis Suarez next to him, who tapped into an open net to give his side the lead.

Despite that goal, La Real continued to be the better team, and they grabbed the equaliser midway through the half when Alexander Isak scored following a rare error from the usually exceptional Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Luis Suarez

Sociedad had a number of chances fall their way during the remainder of the game, but failed to get a third goal as the game ended 2-2. A poor result for Barca, but considering the way they played, they might just take that result.


REAL SOCIEDAD

Player Ratings?

Starting XI: Remiro (6); Zaldua (6), Zubeldia (6), Llorente (7), Monreal (6); Guevara (7), Portu (5), Odegaard (8*), Merino (6), Oyarzabal (7); Isak (7).

Substitutes: Januzaj (6), Jose (6), Barrenetxea (N/A).


BARCA

Key Talking Point

With the El Clasico fast approaching, Real Madrid and Barcelona were locked level on points at the top of ?La Liga. Ernesto V?alverde’s men knew that they couldn’t afford to drop points ahead of the game, and a win here would be pivotal in carrying over the momentum for Wednesday.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL SOCIEDAD-BARCELONA

However, Barca failed to turn up. Sociedad were by far the better team on the day, having more possession than their opponents and having over twice as many shots. The result will be a dent in their confidence and also ends their seven game winning run, which makes the game against Madrid on Wednesday even more crucial now.

What a match we have in store.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ter Stegen (5); Roberto (6), Pique (8), Lenglet (6), Alba (5); Rakitic (5), Busquets (6), De Jong (6); Messi (7), Suarez (7); Griezmann (9*).

Substitutes: Alena (6), Semedo (6), Vidal (6).


Star Man

Griezmann is yet to fully hit his stride since moving to Barcelona, but today showed that maybe he is finally ready to showcase the player that he can be. He was a real live-wire, picking up spaces intelligently in between Sociedad’s defence and midfield and influencing proceedings in what was a very tricky game.

His touches throughout were magnificent as he wowed the crowd with a number of superb pieces of play. He also bagged Barca’s first goal which, was a delicious little chip – signalling the renewed confidence of the player. Hopefully this performance is now a sign of things to come for the Frenchman.


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Looking Ahead

Real Sociedad now have a game in the Copa Del Rey against Becerril on Thursday, before they head to CA Osasuna next Sunday for another league game.

Barcelona’s next game is the huge occasion of the Clasico on Wednesday night – which could go some way to deciding who will win La Liga this season.

Let’

UEFA Champions League Last 16 Draw: When Is It? Where to Watch? How It Works & Key Dates

?A record-breaking group stage campaign might be over, but with the knockout rounds just around the corner, the Champions League is only just getting started.

For the first time ever, the Last 16 will see teams only from Europe’s top five leagues compete for a place in the quarter-final stage, with seven former Champions League winners still left in the competition.

Here’s everything you need to know about the draw for the first round of knockout stage games in the 2019/20 Champions League.


When Is the Champions League Draw?


The draw for the Champions League knockout stages will take place at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland? on Monday, December 16.

Coverage starts at 11:00 (BST).


Is the Champions League Draw on TV?

?Coverage will be available for viewers on UEFA’s official website via a live stream, while BT Sport will also be covering the draw across their platforms.

90min will keep up you up to date with the draw as it happens on Twitter.


How Does the Champions League Draw Work?


For anyone who’s new to UEFA’s elite competition, the remaining 16 teams will be split into two different categories – seeded and unseeded.

This is done by splitting the winning of each group (seeded) into one pot. The runners up (unseeded) will be in the other.

Seeded teams cannot be drawn against each other, while teams from the same country also can not face each other at this stage of the competition. Any further restrictions will be confirmed before the draw.

All seeded teams will play the second leg at home.

Seeded?
?Barcelona (Group F)
?Bayern Munich (Group B)
?Juventus (Group D)
?RB Leipzig (Group G)
?Liverpool (Group E)
?Manchester City (Group C)
?Paris Saint-Germain (Group A)
?Valencia (Group H)

?Unseeded
?Atalanta (Group C)
?Atlético Madrid (Group D)
?Chelsea (Group H)
?Borussia Dortmund (Group F)
?Lyon (Group G)
?Napoli (Group E)
?Real Madrid (Group A)
?Tottenham Hotspur (Group B)

Four former Champions League winners are among the seeded teams and three in the unseeded.


Champions League Last 16 Dates

UEFA Champions League"Ajax v Tottenham Hotspur FC"

The first round of matches in the Last 16 will be played across four ?different days, with two knockout stages matches each night.

Kick-off for each game will be 20:00 (BST).

Dates? ?Fixtures
?18, 19, 25 & 26 February ?First Leg
?10, 11, 17 & 18 March ?Second Leg

For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!

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David Villa Picks His Dream Euro 2020 XI

?David Villa has chosen Harry Kane as the best striker in Europe, after he selected the England captain in his best XI made up of players who will feature at Euro 2020.

Trent Alexander-Arnold also got the nod as the best right-back at the tournament by the former Barcelona man, who won the competition in 2008 as a player. 


Revealing his Dream Euro 2020 line up for ?Globe Soccer, Villa combined a mix of youth and experience in his selections, who were lined up in 4-3-3 formation. 

In goal, Villa selected Germany and ?Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who caused controversy in September when he ?bemoaned his lack of playing time for his country. 

Ter Stegen remains in competition with Manuel Neuer for the number one jersey, with Villa weighing on in the debate by selecting the former Borussia Monchengladbach man as his goalkeeper. 

Marc-Andre ter Stegen

In his back four, the 38-year-old selected two of his compatriots in ?Real Madrid centre-back Sergio Ramos and former Valencia left-back Jordi Alba. 

Completing the defence is ?Virgil van Dijk – who recently finished second place in the Ballon d’Or – and his ?Liverpool teammate Alexander-Arnold, who is the second youngest player in the team.

Villa’s midfield three are all from different national teams with Spain stalwart Sergio Busquets flanked by France’s N’Golo Kante and Netherlands’ Frenkie de Jong.

There’s notably no place for the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Toni Kroos, with the former Barcelona man possibly revealing his bias by selecting the precocious de Jong. 

Frenkie de Jonmg

Villa’s front three sees Robert Lewandowski overlooked, with Kane stealing the number nine shirt, despite the Polish international scoring a ridiculous 27 goals in just 22 games this season for ?Bayern Munich.

Either side of the Tottenham striker are France’s Kylian Mbappe and ?Cristiano Ronaldo, whose Portugal side are the current holders of the competition having beat Les Bleus in the 2016 final.


For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter!

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90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings: Week 16 – Golden Globes Special

?Following a week in which:

– Inter BOTTLED the UEFA Champions League.

– 90min had their Christmas party. 

– Man City BOTTLED the Manchester derby. 

– 90min drank a lot. 

– Jose Mourinho BOTTLED the game against Bayern by not playing the best player in the world (Troy Parrott); the sole reason they’ve been excluded from this week’s rankings.

– 90min are hungover. 

We rank the 15 best teams in Europe using the nominees for ‘Best Television Series – Drama’ Golden Globe award. 


15. Manchester City (Down 4) 

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-MAN UTD

“If I was to give Tom a letter grade, I’d give him a B+ for Bad plus Terrible.” 

Succession

The Cityzens slumped to a pretty embarrassing defeat to arch rivals Manchester United last weekend because their defence is shockingly bad.

 

So bad in fact, that if I was to give ?Manchester City’s defence a letter grade, I’d give them a B+ for Bad plus Terrible. 


14. Borussia Dortmund (Re-Entry) 

Marco Reus

“The weakest strong man at the circus.” 

Succession 

So ?Borussia Dortmund are right slap bang in the middle of a Bundesliga title race and in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. 

Sounds like they’ve been lights out this season, right? 

Well, they really haven’t. Rather, they’ve looked average at their best, and diabolically atrocious at their worst. We’re really not sure how they’re in the title race in Germany and in the last 16 of the Champions League. 


13. Juventus (Down 6) 

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-LAZIO-JUVENTUS

“Too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing.” 

The Crown

Do Juventus have too many good players? 

It sounds ridiculous, but there are in fact so many good players in the squad that it is quite literally impossible to get them all into one starting XI. 

Play Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain – sacrifice Paulo Dybala. 

Play Aaron Ramsey – sacrifice Federico Bernardeschi.

Play Matthijs de Ligt – sacrifice Merih Demiral.

IMPOSSIBLE. 


12. Wolves (Up 1) 

Diogo Jota

“It looks like there might be a slight uptick in ticket sales.” 

Succession

– 18 games unbeaten? Check.

– A win over Manchester City? Check. 

– A forward whose scored five goals in his last three games? Check.

– Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho in midfield? Check. 

It looks like there might be a slight uptick in ticket sales at Molineux.

Wolves. Are. Box. Office.


11. Benfica (Up 1) 

Pizzi

“You’re like, so nice.”

“This is Monterey. We pound people with nice.” 

“To death.” 

Big Little Lies

Benfica’s last 10 Primeira Liga games: 

Played: 10.

Won: 10.

Drawn: 0.

Lost: 0.

Goals Scored: 26.

Goals Conceded: 3.

Goal Difference: +23.

Benfica pound other Portuguese teams to death.


10. Manchester United (Up 5) 

Marcus Rashford

“You know what, I think America is tired of Twitter fighting.”

The Morning Show

You know what, I think Manchester United are tired of Twitter fighting. They’re tired of fans being on their backs. They’re tired of Mark Goldbridge’s Alan Partridge shtick. They’re tired of being slagged off. 

So to quieten the haters, they’ve decided to be good again. 


9. Paris Saint-Germain (Re-Entry) 

Kylian Mbappe

“Letting yourself into my apartment and drinking from a ting cup doesn’t make you intimidating, by the way. It’s just rude.” 

Killing Eve

Beating Galatasaray (Premier League rejects FC) 5-0 at the Parc de Princes and opening up a five point lead at the top of Ligue 1 doesn’t make you Champions League favourites by the way. 

It’s just rude. 


8. Borussia Monchengladbach (Re-Entry) 

Rami Bensebaini

“You never let a bully win. Do you hear me? You have to speak up, Amabella. You have to be a big girl and use your voice in this world. That’s why they call me a bulldog because I had to learn how to fight back with a bully.” 

Big Little Lies

There’s one rule in German football: 

You never let Bayern Munich win. Do you hear me? You have to beat them. You have to fend off the Robert Lewandowski’s of this world and come out swinging, attacking their leaky defence at the most opportune moments. 

Borussia Monchengladbach did that. They fought back and now they’re top of the Bundesliga. 


7. Atalanta (Re-Entry)

FBL-EUR-C1-SHAKHTAR-ATALANTA

“The world’s tallest dwarf.” 

Succession

Atalanta will earn around €39m by qualifying for the UEFA Champions League round of 16 for the first time in the club’s history; their annual wage bill is €36m.

The Champions League’s tallest dwarf! Drop kicking Europe’s footballing giants for the craic. 


6. Real Madrid (Up 2) 

Vinicius Junior,Eder Militao,Rodrygo

“Hey, this is where the party is at. Look at us, all the cool and beautiful people in one spot.” 

Succession

Hey, Real Madrid are really good again. They have Karim Benzema banging in the goals. They have Fede Valverde running the midfield. They have Toni Kroos creating more chances than anyone else in the UEFA Champions League group stages for the second consecutive season. 

Nice one lads. 


5. Lazio (Up 1) 

Sergej Milinkovic Savic

“Who would spend that much money on that man? He’s so excited about his brown sauce, it makes me sick.” 

Killing Eve

Look Claudio Lotito, let’s face it no one is going spend £150m on Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. 

BUT, that is a blessing because let’s face it, you have absolutely no chance of signing anyone that is remotely capable of replacing him. He’s lights out. 


4. RB Leipzig (Down 1) 

FBL-EUR-C1-LYON-LEIPZIG

“Literally everything I’ve been aiming for.” 

Killing Eve

The best team in Germany, in the Champions League round of 16 for the first time, with the best German forward on the books and the most promising manager in Europe at the helm. 

This is literally everything RB Leipzig have been aiming for. 


3. Barcelona (Up 2) 

Ansu Fati,Jean-Clair Todibo

“Keep one eye on the future. The distant future.” 

The Crown

Ansu Fati is one for the future. The distant future. 

For now, he’s just scoring matchwinning goals at San Siro in the UEFA Champions League. No biggie. 


2. Leicester City (Up 2) 

Jamie Vardy

“Ok. Thanks for giving us your Saturday. It turns out people are still murderous bastards on a Sunday.” 

Killing Eve

Ok, so, it turns out Leicester City are still murderous bastards on Sundays. They ripped Everton limb from limb two Sunday’s ago, and this past Sunday they killed Aston Villa at Villa Park. 

They’re the real deal. 


1. Liverpool (-)

Mohamed Salah

“In an increasingly complex world, we all need certainty.” 

The Crown

While the rest of the Definitive European Power Rankings changes week in, week out. While the quotes and tv shows are different every week. And while the images and intro are slightly different every week, there is but one certainty: 

?Liverpool will be top. 

They’ll have that ‘(-)’ by their name.

And they will be lauded in the paragraph below.

Liverpool are the best team in Europe. That’s a fact. 


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Predictions Weekly: Forecasting Liverpool vs Watford, Arsenal vs Man City & More

?It’s that time of the week again ladies and gents, as we gear up for another thrilling weekend of domestic action.

The continent is awash with corking fixtures to keep us entertained, with Manchester City’s trip to Arsenal and Barcelona’s visit to the Basque Country to take on Real Sociedad among the pick of the games.

But what you, and us, would all like to know is what do 90min’s editorial team think will happen in eight of the biggest games on offer?

Well, wonder no more – let’s begin!


Liverpool vs Watford

14/12/19 – 12:30

Juergen Klopp

?By ?Toby Cudworth

The runaway train that is Liverpool rolls into Anfield once more for an early Premier League date with basement boys Watford.

The Reds have been unstoppable so far this season, only dropping points to Manchester United over the course of the first 16 games. Watford, on the other hand, have been absolutely dreadful this season but are now under the guidance of Nigel Pearson, their third manager of the campaign.

He’ll have one hell of a task to stop the rot here, with Jurgie (I like it) Klopp’s lads no doubt confident of giving the Hornets an absolute pumping. Should be a routine home win.

Editor Prediction
Scott 5-0
Chris 4-0
Andy 3-0
Jack 4-0
Jude 4-0
Toby 5-0
Krishan 4-0
Sean 3-0

General Consensus: Unanimous Liverpool Win


Chelsea vs Bournemouth

?14/12/19 – 15:00

Mason Mount,Tammy Abraham,Willian


By Toby Cudworth

Things are going well at Stamford Bridge, despite last weekend’s slip up at Everton, while things are going south (no pun intended) of late at Bournemouth.

Yes, the Blues have been rather good since Frank Lampard took charge, putting in a host of energetic, vibrant performances that have allowed youth to take centre stage and flourish. The Cherries have forgotten what winning feels like – they haven’t done so for 11 games – and have lost their last five in a row, which doesn’t bode well.

This won’t be a walkover, but ?Chelsea should have too much firepower.

Editor Prediction
Scott 3-0
Chris 2-1
Andy 3-0
Jack 3-0
Jude 2-1
Toby 2-0
Krishan 2-1
Sean 3-1

General Consensus: Unanimous Chelsea Win


Leicester vs Norwich

14/12/19 – 15:00

Jonny Evans,Ricardo Pereira,Wilfred Ndidi

?By Jude Summerfield

This one’s a bit cut and dry, isn’t it?

Leicester are in brilliant form, having won their last eight Premier League games since a 2-1 loss at Liverpool and have one of Europe’s form strikers in Jamie Vardy.

Norwich had shown signs of life with a 2-0 win at Everton and a 2-2 draw with Arsenal, but losses to Southampton and Sheffield United mean they are stuck down in 19th, four points behind 17th place Aston Villa with a terrible goal difference also counting against them.

There should be no shocks here. Expect Leicester to wrack up the goals and secure a ninth league win in a row without any issues.

Editor Prediction
Scott 3-0
Chris 3-0
Andy 6-0
Jack 5-1
Jude 3-0
Toby 3-1
Krishan 4-0
Sean 3-0

General Consensus: Unanimous Leicester Win


Real Sociedad vs Barcelona

14/12/19 – 15:00

FBL-EUR-C1-INTER-BARCELONA

By Toby Cudworth

Barcelona, by their exceptionally high standards, have been a bit average at times this season, but still find themselves top of La Liga – albeit level on points with ?Real Madrid.

The Catalan giants have lost three of their 15 league games, but have crucially been successful in 11 of the remaining 12, usually thanks to Lionel Messi. La Blaugrana will need to be at their absolute best though to get anything out of a trip to the Basque Country, where the always tricky Real Sociedad await.

A win is all that Ernesto Valverde will want, but he may have to settle for a point of Mikel Oyarzabal, Martin Odegaard and Willian José are on song.

Editor Prediction
Scott 1-2
Chris 0-3
Andy 2-2
Jack 1-2
Jude 1-2
Toby 1-1
Krishan 0-1
Sean 1-2

General Consensus: Barcelona Win


Man Utd vs Everton

15/12/19 – 14:00

FBL-EUR-C3-MAN UTD-ALKMAAR

By Toby Cudworth

Manchester United have had two big wins on the bounce, but their problem has been their inability to win the games they are actually expected to win.

This is another such occasion, though Everton will be a trickier prospect than they would have been a couple of weeks ago, now that they are under the caretaker charge of absolute madman Duncan Ferguson.

It will be tense at Old Trafford, as always, but United should have enough about them, just, to squeeze over the line.

Editor Prediction
Scott 2-1
Chris 2-0
Andy 2-1
Jack 1-1
Jude 2-0
Toby 2-1
Krishan 2-0
Sean 2-1

General Consensus: Manchester United Win


Wolves vs Tottenham

15/12/19 – 14:00

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-WOLVES

?By Sean Walsh

Heading to a team in really good form with a manager who only plays in one way and a squad full of players he could probably sign via Jorge Mendes if he wanted to? This game was made for Jose Mourinho.

?Spurs’ players have admitted they haven’t had a lot of time to do tactical work since his arrival, but with the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Jan Vertonghen all staying home in midweek, they’ll be raring to go in an attempt to nullify Wolves, and I think they’ll do just the job.

Editor Prediction
Scott 2-2
Chris 1-1
Andy 2-1
Jack 2-2
Jude 2-3
Toby 1-1
Krishan 1-3
Sean 1-2

General Consensus: Draw


Arsenal vs Man City

15/12/19 – 16:30

Arsenal v Manchester City

By Toby Cudworth

“Arsenal have lost their last four Premier League meetings with Manchester City. The last time they lost five consecutive top-flight matches against a side was against Manchester United between September 1983 and August 1985.”

The above statistic, courtesy of our chums at ?Opta, shows just how miserable Arsenal have been against City over the last couple of seasons. And despite the 3-1 win over a terrible West Ham side on Monday, you get the feeling – despite City’s own fragilities – that the visitors will rock up in north London, put in a barnstorming performance and steal the limelight once more.

Oh, and Bernardo Silva scoring another goal? Mhmm, seems likely.

Editor Prediction
Scott 1-3
Chris 1-2
Andy 0-3
Jack 1-3
Jude 0-3
Toby 1-2
Krishan 1-4
Sean 1-3

General Consensus: Unanimous Manchester City Win


Valencia vs Real Madrid

?15/12/19 – 20:00

Zinedine Zidane

By Toby Cudworth

You know when you get a feeling about something, so strong, that you’re absolutely convinced it’s going to happen?

Well, that’s how I feel about this game labouring to a boring 0-0 draw. There is no logical explanation to back up these fanciful claims, apart from a good old gut feeling. I’m standing by it, even if I’m lone ranger.

Editor Prediction
Scott 1-1
Chris 0-1
Andy 1-2
Jack 1-1
Jude 2-2
Toby 0-0
Krishan 1-2
Sean 1-2

General Consensus: Split Between Draw & Real Madrid Win


For more from Toby Cudworth, follow him on Twitter!

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