Barca dealt further Dembele blow

Barca dealt further Dembele blow

Going into yesterday's late kickoff, FC Barcelona had only drew just two of their numerous visits to Real Sociedad's Anoeta stadium, losing all others from the year 2010. So far, Barcelona have won 16 games and have drawn the remaining three.

But Barcelona could be dealt a huge blow for the first leg.

Real Sociedad have scored the fifth most goals in La Liga this season.

The visitors struggled to mount any sort of comeback and were consigned to their third defeat in their last five league games.

Barcelona has become a side who can win in different ways, with the stunning football produced in the 5-0 win over Celta Vigo in the King's Cup Thursday replaced by something more pragmatic at Sociedad. That may just be his best goal of the season.

Roberto drove forwards before finding Messi, who teed up the Uruguayan just inside the box, and he chipped the ball first time over the goalkeeper and into the net.

However, this Barca team is made of stern stuff, and goals from the surprisingly prolific Paulinho a brace from Luis Suarez and a free kick from Messi turned the game on its head and put the league leaders on the road to victory.

Five wins in six have kept Atletico in the title hunt, but Diego Simeone's side also face a tricky assignment on Saturday away to Eibar, whose unrivalled return of 19 points from a possible 21 since mid-November has propelled them to seventh.

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The home side will be without Carlos Martinez, Inigo Martinez and De La Bella.

Samuel Umtiti and Paco Alcacer are both back in training, though, and should be able to make their return to action in the coming weeks.

After Manchester City were defeated by Liverpool on Sunday in the Premier League, Barca are now the only team with an unbeaten record - and they've still got £142m man Philippe Coutinho to come into the team. Instead, Barcelona will get their prized summer signing Ousmane Dembele back from a hamstring tear.

Martinez's omission allowed Kevin Rodrigues to start, while Juanmi replaced Mikel Oyarzabal in a wide position.

Barcelona were behind by two goals when Suarez set up Paulinho before halftime.

It is very easy to take Lionel Messi for granted. His goals were taken with supernatural confidence and the casual nature of his pass to Jordi Alba was a joy to behold.

Sunday will be the first game between Sociedad and Barcelona this season. The departure of Neymar was rumoured to be partly due to the Brazilian feeling as though he was playing in Messi's shadow.

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