Next up on the agenda for Barça is an absolutely huge game at home in the Copa Del Rey quarter finals. It’s a one legged knockout tie against one of the best performs sides in Spain this season, Real Sociedad. For once in a very long time we will be playing a knockout game at the Camp Nou. In fact the last time we played a Copa Del Rey game at home in front of fans was way back in 2020. A 5-0 win against Leganes was the result on the day. Of course you’ll also remember that our very last copa del Rey game at home was THAT game against Sevilla. Where Pique’s late goal levelled the aggregate score up before we won the game 3-0. Putting us through to the cup final. We’ll be looking to use all of that s inspiration as well as the support from our fans to get us over the line. It’s going to be a very difficult game. But a positive result tonight is the most important thing.
A quick look at our opponents:
Like I’ve briefly just mentioned, Real Sociedad are one of the best performing sides in the league this season. They have won all of their last matches in all competitions. Meaning they are unbeaten in their last 10 games. Their last defeat came in the Europa League at home to Manchester United. That result came early in November. Not only that, but defensively they have improved incredibly well too. Only conceding once in their last 7. They’re fighting for Champions League football and are going to be our toughest test yet. We have of course already faced them this season. That game ended in a 4-1 win for Barça with Ansu and Lewandowski playing a starring role. We’ll be hoping for the same impact later tonight. Coming into the game, we’re fortunate enough to field a fully fit squad and its expected we are going to go strong. Sociedad will be without Mikel Merino and David Silva due to injury.
A lot of reliable reports have come out in recent days stating that Xavi will most likely select the same team he fielded against Real Madrid in the SuperCup. And I couldn’t agree more with that. Against Getafe, due to the suspension of Lewandowski and Ferran. We had no choice but to play with a front three. Which against such a low block sometimes can be difficult to implement. Raphinha and Dembele couldn’t really get into the game. Ansu had a quiet night as the number 9. But to be fair to him, his best position is off the left,. He without a doubt gets into the strongest eleven. Be that as the left winger in a front three or the second striker alongside Lewy in a four man midfield setup. Real Sociedad are not a team that sits in a low block, so there will be space to exploit. Xavi could easily go with a front three. But the 3-2-2-3 system he used against Madrid gave us so much fluidity. And for me, Gavi in that inverted left winger role is a fantastic idea. Gavi plays that role really well, and is fundamental in attack, midfield and defence.
All players are fit
Araujo and Frenkie were both rested against Getafe as a precaution. Christensen came off with slight discomfort. But the good news is that they’re all expected to be fit and ready to start tonight’s game. And of course, Lewandowski and Ferran Torres will be available for the game too. Due to the fact that their suspensions aren’t carried over to this competition. Ferran is in desperate need of a confidence boost, so hopefully he can get minutes and have a good impact. The same goes for Kessie who has been slowly improving as each game goes by. Another big decision, but in my mind the easiest one, is whether to start MATS or Peña in goal. Peña is of course the backup keeper and has played both our Copa games so far. But i just think for this game, against such a good opponent, we need the experience of Ter Stegen. Peña possibly needs another loan to fully establish himself.
Kounde- Araujo- Christensen- Balde
Pedri- Frenkie- Busquets- Gavi