Barcelona face a tough test in La Liga on Wednesday when leaders Real Sociedad visit Camp Nou.
Ronald Koeman’s men won against Levante again last time, but they worked hard and weren’t entirely convincing.
A win against Real Sociedad would be a big boost, but it won’t be easy. Imanol Alguacil’s side have only been beaten once this season and have recorded seven wins in their 13 games.
Let’s take a look at how Barcelona might position itself:
It’s hard to see Koeman making many, if any, changes to his defense unless he decides that one of his players needs a breather as the game is in the middle of a busy schedule.
Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo and Oscar Mingueza are available if needed, although it looks like Koeman will stick to the same backline that went clean against Levante.
Koeman could make further changes and will likely have to leave too much space in midfield against Levante with his team again. Rather bizarrely, Miralem Pjanic has only made one La Liga start so far, but could be settled on Wednesday.
Frenkie de Jong is expected to continue after a brilliant performance against Levante which could mean Sergio Busquets is on a bench. Carles Alena is another option, but it seems to have been forgotten lately.
Lionel Messi scored the only goal of the game last time but Koeman will need more of his attack against Real Sociedad. Pedri was able to return to the starting XI after falling off the bench for the last time.
The lack of breadth remains an issue with Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele out, but it is unlikely that Konrad de la Fuente or Francisco Trincao will start. Riqui Puig is another player fans would love to see but probably won’t.
Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann look like certain starters, while Martin Braithwaite could still attack if Philippe Coutinho falls on the bench.
Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet; Alba; Pjanic, De Jong; Messi, Griezmann, Pedri; Braithwaite.
How should Barcelona hold up against Real Sociedad? Let us know your thoughts, predictions, and teams in the comments below!