REAL SOCIEDAD - BARCELONA
Anoeta: the final test
Barcelona have not tasted victory in San Sebastian since 2007 and travel to face Real Sociedad without the suspended Luis Suárez (20:30 CEST).
Barcelona travel to Anoeta this evening (20:30 CEST), a stadium that in recent years has not proved a happy hunting ground for the men from Catalonia.
Since La Real have called Anoeta home (beginning in the 1993-94 season), Barça have made the trip on 19 occasions in LaLiga, winning just five. Their most recent triumph came back in the 2006-07 campaign.
And the last time Los Azulgranas visited San Sebastian, in January 2015, a deceptive (keeper Gerónimo Rulli did make four big stops) but nonetheless painful 1-0 reverse left the project led by boss Luis Enrique in the balance; a project that finished up with the treble and five out of six possible trophies in the calendar year.
That night, Leo Messi, Neymar and Dani Alves started on the bench and were powerless to prevent their side falling to defeat. Messi then missed training with a sudden bout of "gastroenteritis" the next day, and a storm was sparked that threatened to bring down the Sagrada Familia itself. But from crisis-hit, Barça ended up blossoming into all-conquering.
Barcelona go into the clash without the suspended Luis Suárez, with Munir El Haddadi - who has three goals so far in the league this term - tasked with replacing the Uruguayan up front alongside Neymar and Messi. Sergi Roberto is thought to be in line to play at the base of the midfield, with Sergio Busquets set for a rest.
Arda Turan is expected to be given another chance to dissuade the doubters, and Rafinha Alcantara is in contention for his first start since suffering a serious injury in a Champions League draw with Roma in September.
Meanwhile, hosts La Real come into the encounter buoyed by their fantastic victory over Sevilla at the Sánchez Pizjuán last time out. However, they will be without key defender Íñigo Martínez, who joins Yuri Berchiche and Markel Begara on the sidelines.
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