- Barcelona v Real Sociedad
- Saturday May 20 2023, 15:00 ET
- At Camp Nou
Real Sociedad is fighting for every point it can get to secure a top-four spot in La Liga, but it can’t expect any favours from Barcelona, which is sure to put more pressure on the visitors.
Who do Bettors Favor?
The best-rated online sportsbooks show that bettors favor Barcelona significantly in this game, as the home team is rated as a –120 chance here. The draw is priced at around +270 while if you want to wager on the visitors, you can bet on Real Sociedad at between +320 and +345.
|Barcelona v Real Sociedad|
Barcelona Finishing Strong
After a difficult two seasons, this has been a triumphant return to the top of Spanish football for Barcelona, which sealed the league title with four games to spare.
That return to La Liga glory does not mean that Xavi’s team is resting on its laurels, however, and after some difficult months, Barcelona fans will not tolerate any slackening of the team’s efforts as it aims to finish the season strong, starting with this game against Sociedad.
Failures in the Copa del Rey, the Champions League and the Europa League means that this has not been a flawless season and the fans will be expecting more of these players, with a possible 97 points available if the team wins this game plus its three remaining fixtures.
Top Four Not Safe for Sociedad.
Real Sociedad is vying for a top-four finish and Champions League qualification for next season, so it is fair to say that this game is much more important for them than it is for Barcelona, as it aims to finish among the La Liga elite for the first time since 2013.
Imanol Alguacil’s squad is currently fourth, five points ahead of Villarreal in fifth, and will enter this match riding a three-victory, five-game unbeaten streak. Still, the Basque club was held to a 2-2 draw at home by Girona last weekend, and a loss in this match would certainly leave it vulnerable, especially considering that it is yet to play games against Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. That means there is huge pressure on the Sociedad players here to seal that top-four spot.
In its favor, Sociedad has been impressive on the road this season, accumulating 30 points from 17 matches, including nine victories. Balancing that strong record is the fact that Sociedad has not beaten Barcelona in La Liga since April 2016, and the Catalan side has won each of their last six meetings, including a 4-1 victory earlier this season.
La Liga Betting Head-to-Head
Some of the head-to-head records in La Liga can look very one-sided and that is certainly the case with these two teams, even though both have been top-flight regulars for many years.
The last 35 meetings between Barcelona and Sociedad have produced an impressive 25 wins for Barcelona, with five games drawn and five wins for Sociedad.
It was certainly business as usual in the team’s two meetings this season as Barcelona won 1-0 in the Copa del Rey and thrashed its opponents 4-1 in the reverse fixture.
La Liga Team News
Last week’s 4-2 victory over Espanyol resulted in a yellow card for Gavi, which means a one-match suspension for the youngster, but otherwise, the team news is good. Sergi Roberto returned to the bench in the Barcelona derby after recovering from a hamstring injury, and the Catalan club has no new injury concerns heading into this match.
Despite the fact that the title has been secured, head coach Xavi is unlikely to alter his lineup here. However, Ousmane Dembele, who has recently returned from a hamstring injury, could start in a wide position, while Jordi Alba and Marcos Alonso are pushing to be involved from the opening whistle.
Things are a little trickier for Real Sociedad, which is currently without a number of players, including Brais Mendez, Umar Sadiq, and Martin Merquelanz. It is likely that the visitors will field a strong attacking lineup including Mikel Oyarzabal, David Silva, and Alexander Sorloth, while Martin Zubimendi, who is regularly being linked with a move to Barcelona, is set to start the game alongside Mikel Merino in central midfield. Asier Illarramendi is expected to be starting on the bench for the visitors.
La Liga Match Betting Pick
It could be argued that Real Sociedad has the greater motivation here, but that overlooks that the visiting team will also be under the most pressure. Although it is likely to take an attacking approach, the Barcelona defense has been remarkably consistent this season and I expect it to withstand the Sociedad barrage, and to pose a threat at the other end, making Barcelona the best match betting pick.