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Opportunity knocks for Barcelona against Real Sociedad

Saturday’s visitors have a poor record at Camp Nou

Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Being a Barca fan isn’t the most enjoyable experience in the world right now.

Poor results, coupled with continuous and unhelpful meddling from the board, has led to the likes of Jordi Cruyff suggesting that the club are in crisis.

It’s hard to argue with his sentiments at this point.

However, there is a chance to reverse some of the narrative this coming weekend when Real Sociedad come to town.

The Basques do, of course, arrive at Camp Nou in probably the best shape that they have done for a while, and to dismiss them before a ball has been kicked is wrong.

However, we do have to go all the way back to the 1994/95 campaign to find the last time they even got so much as a point away against the Blaugranes. Barca have won every single fixture at Camp Nou since then.

In order for Imanol Alguacil’s side to spring a surprise, then they’ll have to come and play football, and that should play right into Barca’s hands.

A different proposition at home when they’re on song, Quique Setien and his squad will understand that there can be no more slip ups from this point if they want to remain in the shake-up at the end of the LaLiga season.

To that end, suffocating the life out of Martin Odegaard is a must, as is neutralising the threat of Alex Isak.

Setien has to get his team selection and tactics spot on, and whomever pulls on the shirt must also step up.

Looking at how blunt Leo Messi’s reactions were at the Santiago Bernabeu, it seems fairly clear that he needs rest. Now.

Depending how La Real fare against Mirandes in the Copa del Rey, might this weekend’s fixture be the right time to take him out of the firing line?

Assuming Setien doesn’t have the bravery - some would say stupidity - to leave Messi sidelined, then players such as Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong, to name two, have to start getting it together.

We can argue all day long about whether they’re being played in the correct positions, but we’re also forever being told how intelligent they are as players.

And yet they often can’t seem to work it out on the pitch in the big moments.

In a match where the three points have been guaranteed for 25 years, this fixture has bizarrely now become a must win, not just an easy win.

No more excuses.

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