For the first time in a long while, we’ve had a full week since our last game. That’s great for everyone especially for the players with rest and recovery. It’s vital we make the most of these weeks when there is such a packed schedule. So, for the first time since last Saturday, we’re back in action in La Liga. And yet again, its another big test. At 9pm local time, live from the Anoeta. It’s Barca vs Real Sociedad. Away games at this particular stadium are never straightforward, and it definitely wont be this time round either.
A quick look at our opponents:
Sociedad are having an incredible season. I believe they’re fighting at the top of the champions league group and are floating in and around the top 6, like always, in the league. They’re playing some fantastic football with the likes of Kubo and Zubimendi taking a starring role. So its going to be a very trick game for us and another big test for the team.
Immanol has been building an exciting team in the basque region over the last few seasons and are really impressing early in the season. Scoring goals, playing good football.
You don’t really expect anything less from Sociedad. And like I’ve mentioned, for us, its going to be a very tricky game. We’re going to have to be at our very best to compete and come away with a positive result. Kubo is having an incredible season so far too, and for me, he’s the main danger man to keep an eye out for. As well as the usual suspects of Real Sociedad, such as Oyarzabal and Zubimendi.
We can’t talk about the lineup without addressing the incredibly exciting news we received earlier yesterday morning. Pedri is finally back in the squad. He received the medical green light and Xavi confirmed in his press conference that “he is 100% ready to compete”.
For me personally, and i think for all the fan base, just seeing Pedri’s name back in the squad list is really exciting. I’ve missed watching him play football in general. But as a team, we’ve also missed his influence. We will only see him for a maximum of 20 minutes this evening. But the crucial thing for us now and for xavi is to manage his minutes perfectly so that he remains with us for the long term. We have enough cover now, so rotation is key.
Apart from that, Frenkie and Roberto are the only 2 absences from the squad. So we’re almost at the point where Xavi can finally rely on his full squad. Which we haven’t been able to do for a very long time.
When it comes to the lineup for this evening however, we’re going to go strong. Me personally, I wouldn’t start Romeu in this game. I think we’ve found something with Gavi playing a little deeper that really gives us something different. Definitely more energy, but Gavi has more prominence in that deeper double pivot role. And I think him and Gundogan would work perfectly together. With Felix and Fermin just ahead of them.
In defence, its most likely going to be Balde and Cancelo on the flanks. Araujo will definitely start. The only question really is who will partner him. Both Iñigo and Christensen and strong contenders, so it’ll be interesting to see who Xavi chooses. In attack, I’d start Lewandowski. Yamal may start, although I think we’ll wait to start him midweek vs Shaktar. So in that case, I’d go with Raohinha on the right. And of course Felix playing as that inverted left winger.
My starting lineup:
Canceló- Araujo- Christensen- Balde
Fermin- Gundogan- Gavi
Raphinha- Lewandowski- Felix