Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona: Betting tips, predictions, odds & match preview
Both Barcelona and Real Sociedad found the going tougher than expected on Matchday one in La Liga – though La Real did manage to scrape out a win, while Barça dropped points at home. The two sides meet Sunday night 9:00pm UK) in San Sebastián, in what should be a quality, action-packed contest.
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Real Sociedad vs Barcelona match stats
Real Sociedad opened their season on Spain’s southern coast, against Cádiz. Despite dominating possession (60%-40%), total shots (15-7) and shots on goal (7-2), La Real could only conjure a 24th minute strike from newcomer (from Real Madrid) Takefusa Kubo on his debut. However, the 1-0 score line, while perhaps not indicative of the flow of the game, wasn’t exactly misleading in the way we might expect.
Interestingly, not only was Real Sociedad unable to translate their apparent control of the game into anything more than a lone goal, they allowed Cádiz to generate nearly as many dangerous attacks (44 vs 55). On the plus side, La Real showed the ability to ‘bend but not break’, which is, of course, a hugely valuable trait for a team. However, as useful and impressive as that is, it’s simply not a sustainable strategy against teams that are more attack-minded and more loaded in attack.
Speaking of which…
It was a similar story on Saturday night at Camp Nou, as Barcelona playing host to Rayo Vallecano. Barcelona similarly (more extremely, in fact) dominated possession (67%-33%), shots (21-6) and dangerous attacks (64-24). However, unlike their Matchday 2 opponents, Barça failed to make that advantage show, winding up with nothing more than a modest 6-2 edge in shots on goal and a goalless draw.
It is worth mentioning that, by and large, and particularly for a team that’s ever gone as much turnover as Barça has this summer, the team generally look comfortable in possession and moving the ball up the pitch. It was in the final third where they fell flat and simply must be better. If the early returns are any indication, this side should be fairly adept at consistently in getting into those positions.
There’s still plenty of work to be done up front. Of course, this isn’t terribly shocking, given that the most prominent holdovers from last year’s attack, Pedri and Oumane Dembélé, are still working to build a rapport with high-profile newcomers Raphinha and Robert Levandowski, while Ansu Fati works his way back after an injury-plagued campaign. This will likely take a moment to come together. However, given the talent on hand and Saturday night’s display of just how ‘almost together’ it is, there’s a decent chance it doesn’t take too much longer than that.
Barça fans can be forgiven for shuddering a bit at the thought of a trip to San Sebastián, as, once upon a time (in the early/middle portions of last decade), the season’s away fixture against Real Sociedad seemingly guaranteed frustration. More recently, however, that script has flipped.
In these sides’ last five meetings in league play in San Sebastian (since the ’17-’18 season) Barcelona have won four times and drawn once, outscoring Real Sociedad 15-6 in the process. Irrespective of location, the Blaugrana have won the last six meetings (five in La Liga, one in the Super Cup) by combined score of 16-6, and have not lost outright lost against La Real since September 2016.
Obviously this Barcelona team is not the same as those from years past. However, even the sides of the recent past have not been vintage sides. Nonetheless, as Barça has aged, evolved and, more recently, flirted with disaster, all while La Real have been a top-half fixture, this fixture has belonged to the Blaugrana.
Given what we saw from Barça and Real Sociedad in their respective openers, an open and free-flowing contest, in which both sides find the net, with Barça emerging victorious looks the likeliest outcome.