Sociedad to keep up hold on Barca
Sacristan's boys could have the edge at home
Real Sociedad v Barcelona
Copa del Rey, 8.15pm Thursday
THERE aren’t many teams Barcelona have a mental block against but Real Sociedad are definitely one and the Basques are worth punting to avoid defeat at the Anoeta.
La Real are going great guns this season, fifth in La Liga – only six points behind Barca – and into the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey after beating Villarreal in the last 16.
And Barcelona do not enjoy their trips to San Sebastian. They haven’t won on any of their last eight visits there, a sequence dating back to 2007. Their most recent meeting, in the league in November, ended 1-1.
Sociedad can certainly avoid defeat and extend their current hot streak to just two losses in their last 14.
The negative is that they’ve had two days fewer than Barcelona to prepare for the first leg of this last-eight clash – they won 2-0 in Malaga on Monday, 48 hours after Barca had thrashed Las Palmas 5-0.
But Eusebio Sacristan’s boys are flying and while Carlos Vela is still out, Juanmi and Willian Jose are proving a real handful, and home advantage clearly gives them an edge.
Interestingly, Barcelona have played the away leg first in their two previous ties and won neither – they drew 1-1 in Alicante against Hercules and lost 2-1 in Bilbao against Athletic before triumphing at home each time.
The cup holders may need to produce another decent effort at Camp Nou in the second leg next Thursday.
Real Sociedad draw no bet
1pt 3-1 general