Barcelona will be looking for a perfect start to their 2021-22 La Liga campaign when they host Real Sociedad at Camp Nou on Sunday night.
Ronald Koeman’s team finished third in Spain’s top flight last season, seven points behind champions Atlético de Madrid, while Real Sociedad finished fifth to secure a place in the Europa League group stage.
The dust has already settled with the departure of Lionel Messi, and Barcelona simply cannot stop at the Argentine’s departure, as the Catalan giants prepare for their first game of the new season, which is a difficult task against a team of the talented and extremely capable Royal Society.
Barcelona are in search of their 27th Spanish league title in 2021-22, but they have ground to regain if last season is taken into account, as they finished seven points behind Atlético, champions, who will again seek to challenge in the top of the competition. the division with a certain Real Madrid.
The club’s financial woes are well documented, but they have still managed to sign Memphis Depay, Sergio Agüero, and Eric Garcia on free transfers this summer, and Koeman has an incredibly talented squad capable of at least challenging the greatest. trophies this quarter.
Barcelona won the Copa del Rey last season but was disappointed in the Champions League and finished only two points ahead of Sevilla, fourth in La Liga. The poor first half of the campaign ultimately cost them a chance to fight for the title, as their form in the second part of the season was largely impressive.
In preseason terms, Koeman’s team has played five times, recording four victories, including a solid 3-0 win over Italian giants Juventus at the Joan Gamper Trophy last weekend, and a replay of that performance would make him. in a very difficult task. for the Royal Society.
Mikel Oyarzabal in action with Real Sociedad in April 2021
The visitors have also played five friendlies over the summer, recording victories over Alavés, Monaco, and Eibar, as well as suffering losses to AZ and Osasuna, losing 3-1 to the latter on August 6.
Real Sociedad finished fifth in La Liga last season, which was their highest since 2012-13; They were 15 points behind fourth-placed Sevilla, but an impressive record of 17 wins, 11 draws and 10 losses gave them 62 points, one point ahead of sixth-place Real Betis.
Imanol Alguacil’s team has had a quiet transfer window, with only Diego Rico and Mathew Ryan arriving to boost the team, but they have kept their star players so far, and the team should be good enough to at least replicate what that they achieved last time. finished.
The Whites and Blues have back-to-back home games against Rayo Vallecano and Levante after the trip to Barcelona, and the team was strong in its own patch last season, scoring 33 points from 19 games, which is actually just five less than Barcelona managed at the Camp Nou.
However, Real Sociedad also held firm on their travels, with the fifth-best away record in the top flight in Spain last season, scoring 29 points from their 19 games.