Real Sociedad vs Barcelona preview, betting tips and predictions: Blaugrana to win on the site of some recent nightmares
It would take a catastrophic turn of events for Barcelona to let the La Liga title slip now. Nine points clear of their closest rivals in theory, Barca won’t be too worried about Atletico Madrid keeping up with them.
Although the return of Diego Costa makes Atletico a more powerful side, Barca’s biggest rivals are trailing by 16 points and sitting in fourth place. Real Madrid have been terribly shoddy in their defense of the title and haven’t a hope of retaining it now.
Even if they won every game between now and the end of the campaign (including their game in hand), it’s hard to see Barca dropping 12 points. They’re an even stronger unit than the one that built up that incredible lead in the first half of the season.
Philippe Coutinho’s transfer saga came to a slightly premature end when Liverpool agreed to let him part for an extraordinary fee of £142m.
Although a significant percentage of that includes add-ons, they aren’t related to individual honours for Coutinho like the Ballon d’Or as their summer proposal was.
Speaking of the Ballon d’Or, Lionel Messi continues to make a mockery out of the glorified popularity contest. Beaten to the last annual contest by Cristiano Ronaldo, the genius forward continues to outperform his rival on the pitch and is currently top of the goalscoring charts. Barca have been astonishing at the back too and emphasised this by keeping a clean sheet in a comprehensive 3-0 victory at the Bernabeu recently.
While Real Sociedad have troubled Barca in the not too recent past (“I’m sorry to say it’s Moysey”), they’re unlikely to pose a problem now.