Competition Focus

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

Sports Mole previews Monday’s La Liga clash between Barcelona and Real Sociedad, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Barcelona will be bidding to return to winning ways in Spain’s top flight when they welcome Real Sociedad to Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on Monday evening.

The Catalan outfit will enter the contest off the back of a 4-2 defeat at Girona, which left them third in the table, while Real Sociedad recorded a 2-0 victory over Las Palmas last time out to boost their top-six hopes.

Match preview

Barcelona's Andreas Christensen celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on April 21, 2024© Reuters

Barcelona’s incredibly-slim hopes of winning the La Liga title officially ended last weekend when they suffered a 4-2 defeat at Girona, with the result confirming Real Madrid as the champions.

Xavi‘s side dropped to third in the division, two points behind Girona, and they are locked in a battle for the runners-up position in Spain’s top flight, but qualification for next season’s Champions League has already been secured, so there is not anything substantial for them to play for late in the campaign.

Barcelona have actually lost three of their last four matches in all competitions, being eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Champions League by Paris Saint-Germain, before suffering a 3-2 defeat to Real Madrid in El Clasico.

The Catalan outfit bounced back by beating Valencia 4-2 in their last home match, but the loss at Girona last time out was a setback, and they will be bidding to end the campaign on a positive note, with games against Almeria, Rayo Vallecano and Sevilla to come after this one.

Barcelona have actually lost three times at their temporary home in La Liga this season, which is more than on their travels (two), and they will be welcoming a Real Sociedad outfit that have the fourth-best away record in the division this season, picking up 27 points from their 17 games on their travels.

Real Sociedad's Mikel Oyarzabal celebrates scoring their first goal with Takefusa Kubo on February 27, 2024© Reuters

Real Sociedad finished fourth in La Liga last season to qualify for the 2023-24 Champions League, and they reached the last-16 stage of the competition before being beaten by PSG.

The Basque outfit will not be present in next season’s Champions League, but they are currently in a position to qualify for the group stage of the 2023-24 Europa League, sitting in sixth spot, two points ahead of seventh-placed Real Betis, with that spot bringing a Conference League playoff position.

Imanol Alguacil‘s side will enter this match off the back of a 2-0 victory over Las Palmas, but they have only won one of their last four in the league, including a 1-0 home loss to Real Madrid at the end of April.

Real Sociedad have a tough end to the season, facing Valencia, Real Betis and Atletico Madrid in their final three matches, so there is still plenty of work to do when it comes to securing a Europa League spot.

The White and Blues beat Barcelona 2-1 at Camp Nou last season, but they suffered a 1-0 defeat to the Catalan outfit when the two teams locked horns for the reverse fixture earlier this term.

Barcelona La Liga form:

Barcelona form (all competitions):

Real Sociedad La Liga form:

Team News

Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong receives medical attention after sustaining an injury on April 21, 2024© Reuters

Barcelona will be without the services of three players through injury on Monday, with Gavi and Alejandro Balde remaining long-term absentees, while Frenkie de Jong is sidelined due to an ankle problem.

Head coach Xavi is expected to make a couple of changes to the side that took to the field for the first whistle against Girona last time out, with Pedri and Raphinha potentially coming into the XI.

Sergi Roberto and Fermin Lopez are likely to be the two players to drop down to the bench, with Andreas Christensen set to feature as the holding midfielder once again.

As for Real Sociedad, Igor Zubeldia, Martin Zubimendi, Kieran Tierney and Carlos Fernandez are unavailable for selection on Monday night.

Hamari Traore and Aihen Munoz are both doubts, meanwhile, so the visitors will be far from full-strength on Monday evening against a Barcelona side that will be bidding to bounce back from a defeat.

Takefusa Kubo is expected to be brought back into the XI, having only been a late substitute last time out, but Sheraldo Becker should continue in the final third of the field, having netted his second league goal of the campaign last time out.

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Cubarsi, Cancelo; Gundogan, Christensen, Pedri; Yamal, Lewandowski, Raphinha

Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Remiro; Odriozola, Le Normand, Pacheco, Galan; Benat, Mendez, Merino; Oyarzabal, Becker, Kubo

SM words green background

We say: Barcelona 2-1 Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad need the points more than Barcelona, with the Basque outfit bidding to cement a Europa League spot, but the hosts will be determined to bounce back from their loss at Girona, and we are predicting a narrow home success on Monday night.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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