Real Sociedad, a team on the rise

Real Sociedad celebrate a goal against Granada at Anoeta / LFP
On Saturday, FC Barcelona visit a team for whom there has been a remarkable turn for the good since Eusebio was appointed as manager

Yuri and Bergara suspended

The defender and midfielder are out doe to accumulation of yellows and a sending off, respectively. Eusebio is also missing Carlos Martínez, who has a sprained ankle, but recovers two key players in Rubén Pardo and Joseba Zaldúa.

The next challenge for FC Barcelona in La Liga is Saturday’s trip to Anoeta (8.30pm CET), home of Real Sociedad, a side whose season started slowly, but for whom things have improved considerably as the season has moved on.

They only got nine points from their first eleven outings, but former FC Barcelona player and Barça B manager Eusebio Sacristán, who replaced Scotsman David Moyes in November, has managed to turn things for the good. It all started with a 2-0 defeat of Sevilla in his first game in charge.

Eight of the team’s ten wins in the league have been achieved since Eusebio’s appointment, and last week his team defeated Sevilla once again, the first time the Andalusians had been beaten in 13 matches.

However, the impressive win at the Sánchez Pizjuán came on the back of a poor run of three defeats (3-0 against Atlético Madrid, 1-0 against Celta and 1-0 against Las Palmas) and two draws (1-1 with Malaga and Levante).

Rising up

Real Sociedad were down in 14th when Eusebio took charge, and although they suffered a serious 4-0 defeat at the Camp Nou in his second game, the results have generally been positive, with the team now tenth with 38 points. Qualification for Europe is highly unlikely at this stage, but at least the Basques have little need to worry about relegation.

And it is when playing at Anoeta that the txuriurdin are at their most difficult. Under Moyes, Real failed to register a single win in San Sebastian, but with Eusebio on the bench they have won five, drawn three and lost just two games in their own stadium.