On Saturday we want to get back to winning ways after two disappointing results but, while we will host them at the Camp Nou, our rivals are one of the toughest we could face at present. Not only are they one of the revelations of La Liga, but they have won a brutal 9 out of their last 10 competitive matches. In the Copa del Rey, they put 4 past Madrid at the Bernabéu in the quarters, while yesterday against Mirandés they reached their first Cup final in 32 years.
Imanol Alguacil has been the perfect man to guide a young and energised squad. They reunite bright academy products, such as Oyarzabal, Zubeldia, Guevara and Barrenetxea, with top gems that show the club’s admirable scouting and transfer policy: Ødegaard, Isak, Mikel Merino, Le Normand or Remiro.
In some ways Real Sociedad are a bit like Ajax, handling possession with an extra dose of dynamism and adrenaline. Unlike Ten Hag’s side, though, the txuri-urdin do use a 4–3–3, but in quite a different way to Barça. La Real’s wingers are very mobile and often have to occupy the half-spaces. In midfield, they use what is usually considered a perfectly balanced trio: a pivot in Zubeldia or Guevara, an all-round box-to-box like Merino, and a magician in Ødegaard to be the highest positioned interior.
Alguacil may choose to give rest to some of his key figures as on Tuesday they will have to play the postponed match against Eibar, meaning it will be 3 games in 7 days for them. So their XI is truly unpredictable, and this could be one of their line-ups if they made some rotations:
Zaldúa · Elustondo · Le Normand · Aihen Muñoz
Sangalli · Zubeldia · Guevara
Portu · Isak · Oyarzabal
P L A Y E R T O W A T C H
Alexander Isak /
Isak was on the bench against Mirandés, but may start again at the Camp Nou as he did score in the reverse fixture (2–2) and has been shining in 2020. The 20-year-old is tall, powerful, prolific and technically gifted, but he couldn’t be more different to his fellow countryman Ibrahimović. Calm and modest, Alex does nothing just to show off. He can fit into any system, has a sharp killer instinct and is a big-game player too.