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Barcelona will look to get back to their winning ways when they take on Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou this weekend in the La Liga.
The Catalans giants have had to endure a horrible week, they were 2-0 defeated by Malaga last weekend in the Spanish top division, before heading to the week to face Juventus in the UEFA Champions League which they were mauled 3-0 on Tuesday. Luis Enrique side will be hoping his squad would get back to winning ways against the La Real and pot some pressure on Liga leaders Real Madrid ahead of the El Clasico next week.
The two giants have met thrice already this season, with La Real beating Barca 1-0 in the league encounter. However, the Catalan giants got the better of their opponents in the 2 legs of the Copa Del Rey quarterfinals winning both games with scorelines of 1-0 and 5-2.
Barcelona have been dealt a bitter blow as they will be without their star attacker Neymar, having been suspended for 3 fames while defender Javier Mascherano has also been ruled out of the squad after picking up an injury against Juventus. Also, Rafinha Alcantara too remains unfit for Barca due to a meniscus injury while Aleix Vidal has been ruled out of the squad for the remainder of the season. However, there is a good news for Luis Enrique, as Arda Turan returned to training on Wednesday after having been unfit since the international break.
The German would remain between the sticks for Barcelona. The Germany international was shaky against Juventus in the Champions League. Ter Stegen will look to put in an improved performance against La Real on Saturday.
The Spaniard has been one of the better players for Barca this season but been in and out of the team in recent weeks due to his off the field displays. He is expected to start against Sociedad.
One could say Umtiti performance was the only positive against Juventus. Umtiti has been growing in stature with each passing game. He’s definite starter.
His performance has been down the pecking order in recent weeks, but due to lack of options in the team, Mathieu is a started and he will occupy the third centre-half spot at the back.
The utility player has played in all sorts of positions this term and he will take the field at Camp Nou on Saturday on the right-hand side of the midfield.
Sergio Busquets was highly felt when his side faced Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday due to suspension. Busquets is expected to return to the playing XI and slot into the anchor role.
The Croatian international had an off day in the midweek during the Champions League clash against the Turin’s. He will be looking to get back to performances when they face Real Sociedad.
The summer arrival is expected to start in place of veteran midfielder Andres Iniesta. The 23-year-old hasn’t had a great season, registering just 3 goals and 3 assists to his name this season. He will want to make an impact for his side this weekend.
The Spanish international has rarely been started not brought in as a sub in recent weeks by Enrique, however, he should be in line for a return to the playing XI, slotting in on the left-hand side of the midfield.
With his partner in crime out, Messi will be under huge pressure to provide the creative spark in the attacking third together with Luis Suarez. He will play in a central role just behind the main striker.
Leading the line for Barca would be mercurial forward Luis Suarez. After 2 poor matches against Malaga and Juventus, the former Liverpool man will be keen to get back to goal-scoring ways.