If past results are anything to go by then ?Barcelona can expect a tricky tie when they travel to San Sebastien on Saturday to face a plucky Real Sociedad side that have won, drawn and lost in their opening three games of the season.
The Catalans have won only once at the
?Barça will be desperate to end their spell of draws and defeats away to the Basque side as they look to keep the pace with rivals ?Real Madrid, who sit in second place also on nine points.
Sociedad, meanwhile, will jump at the chance to move off the four points shared by ten other teams in the league, as they look to qualify for Europe this season.
Real Sociedad 2-1 Barcelona (2010/11)
Yet despite an early goal from Barça midfielder Thiago, Sociedad netted two goals within ten minutes, including a penalty winner from local hero
Coutinho may not have appeared on the scoresheet in Barça’s ?8-2 thrashing of SD Huesa last match, however he is increasingly showing his potential as Iniesta’s successor in the creative sense and is a dangerous presence when on the ball.
Coutinho showed himself to be one of Brazil’s most important players at the World Cup this summer and he’ll want to carry forward that momentum in what will be his first full season for the Blaugrana. With Iniesta now playing football in Japan, the stage is set for the 26-year old to live up to his €120m transfer fee.
Real Sociedad will miss the services of Willian Jose, who has scored two in three so far this season, while Adnan Januzaj is struggling with a knee problem.
On-loan Everton forward Sandro Ramirez will also be absent for the hosts after suffering a knee ligament injury during training, as will Jon Guridi and Diego Llorente.
Ernesto Valverde is without any major injury setbacks, while new signings Arturo Vidal and Arthur are yet to tie down a spot in Barça’s starting XI, meaning it is likely that the midfield trio of Rakitic, Busquets and Coutinho will remain.
Potential Starting Lineups
Real Sociedad (4-2-2):
FC Barcelona (4-3-3):
Nevertheless, with La Real’s top scorer out with injury, the Azulgranes will be keen to pick up from where they left off last season by making it three wins in a row and, based on their form in the opening three games, they go into the match as heavy favourites.