Preview: Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad

Preview: Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad

Fresh from securing the 2022-23 La Liga title, Barcelona will continue their campaign with a home match against top-four hopefuls Real Sociedad on Saturday afternoon.

Xavi’s side were crowned champions with four matches to spare by beating Espanyol 4-2 in the Barcelona derby last weekend, but Real Sociedad drew 2-2 against Girona and still have work to do if they are to secure a top-four position in the table.

Barcelona have been comfortably the best side in La Liga this season, boasting a record of 27 wins, four draws and three defeats from their 34 matches to collect 85 points, which has left them 14 points clear of second-placed Real Madrid at the top of the table.

Xavi’s side were confirmed as champions for the 2022-23 campaign courtesy of their 4-2 win over Espanyol last Sunday, with the Catalan giants claiming the title for the first time since 2019.

Reclaiming the league trophy has to be seen as a huge positive, but Barcelona were knocked out of the Copa del Rey in the semi-finals by Real Madrid, while they again failed to make it out of the group stage of the Champions League before losing to Manchester United in the Europa League knockout round playoffs.

There is plenty for Xavi to improve on next season, and it will be fascinating to see how the summer unfolds for the club, with Lionel Messi being strongly linked with a return, while a recent report claimed that Neymar is also wanted back at Camp Nou, potentially on loan from Paris Saint-Germain.

Barcelona will undoubtedly be looking to challenge for the biggest prizes next term, and they have four pressure-free games against Real Sociedad, Real Valladolid, Mallorca and Celta Vigo to finish the season, with the team capable of reaching 97 points in the division.

Preview: Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad – prediction, team news, lineups

It would be fair to say that this is a bigger match for Real Sociedad than it is for Barcelona, as the visitors are bidding to secure a top-four position in the table and Champions League football for next term.

Imanol Alguacil’s side are currently fourth, five points ahead of fifth-placed Villarreal, and they will bring a five-game unbeaten run into this match, which has included three victories.

The Basque outfit were held to a 2-2 draw by Girona at home last weekend, though, and another defeat in this match would certainly leave them vulnerable, especially as a tough end to the campaign sees them finish with games against Atletico Madrid and Sevilla.

Real Sociedad, who have not finished in La Liga’s top four since 2013, have been impressive on their travels this season, picking up 30 points from 17 matches, winning nine times in the process.

The White and Blues have not beaten Barcelona in La Liga since April 2016, though, with the Catalan outfit winning each of their last six meetings, including a 4-1 victory in the reverse game earlier this season.

Barcelona La Liga form:

Real Sociedad La Liga form:

We say: Barcelona 2-1 Real Sociedad
Barcelona will not want to take their foot off the gas late in the season, and their record against Real Sociedad cannot be ignored when picking a result here. It is a more important match for the visitors, but we are expecting the home side to emerge victorious by the narrowest of scorelines.

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