Barca look to close in on title against Real Sociedad

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-19 20:46:57|Editor: zh
Video PlayerClose

MADRID, April 19 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona could leave themselves with the chance to have mathematically assured the La Liga title by next weekend if they beat Real Sociedad in the Camp Nou stadium on Saturday night.

Barca currently need nine points with six games remaining this season to assure they are this season's champions and that means a win on Saturday, coupled with a win away to Alaves next Tuesday, would see them crowned champions with a win at home to Levante on April 27th, even if second-placed Atletico Madrid win their next three games.

Wrapping up the title by next weekend would give Barca a huge advantage in their Champions League semifinal against Liverpool, given that the English side are still locked in a close head-to-head battle with Manchester City for the Premier League, meaning their coach Jurgen Klopp can't afford to rest key players in his domestic tournament.

Having La Liga in the bag would allow Barca boss Ernesto Valverde to repeat the tactic he used in last weekend's 0-0 draw away to Huesca, where he rested nine first team regulars and gave four players their first-team debuts.

Valverde is unlikely to go quite that far on Saturday against Real Sociedad, but he will make some changes to the side which won so convincingly against Manchester United on Tuesday.

Nelson Semedo can expect to return at right-back, with Samuel Umtiti (fitness permitting) perhaps back in the middle of the Barca defense, while Ousmane Dembele will get more minutes as Valverde looks to get him back to speed for the end of the campaign.

It's unlikely that Lionel Messi, who is just a hat-trick away from his 600th goal for Barca, will get a rest, while Luis Suarez will also start, as Barca look to take three vital points.

Real Sociedad have been out of form in recent weeks, hit by the absence of players such as Asier Illaramendi, David Zurutuza, Willian Jose and Adnan Januzaj.

Willian Jose should be available on Saturday and has a good scoring record against Barca, but the feeling is that unless Mikel Oyarzabal plays out of his skin, it may be a difficult afternoon for the side from San Sebastian against a Barcelona side in high spirits and looking to seal the title.