class=”article_teaser__2t5do”>For the first time in 17 years Barcelona begin a La Liga season without Lionel Messi and their opponents on Sunday are likely to cause them problems
It has been a tumultuous summer for Barcelona but the start of the new La Liga season offers a chance for Ronald Koeman’s side to try and put Lionel Messi’s departure behind them.
The Catalans welcome Real Sociedad to Camp Nou on Sunday evening and know they will face a stern test against one of the division’s most impressive sides last term.
Barcelona vs Real Sociedad latest odds
Barcelona boast an extraordinary home record against the team from the city of San Sebastian with La Real’s last victory at Camp Nou coming in 1991.
Sociedad are priced at 7/2 (4.50) with bet365 to end the 30-year wait for a win, while the hosts are offered at 8/11 (1.72) a price that will surely attract attention.
The draw can be backed at 3/1 (4.00).
TV channel, live stream & how to watch
LaLigaTV Premier Player
The game is being shown live on LaLigaTV in the United Kingdom (UK). The Premier Player will be streaming the game live online.
Barcelona vs Real Sociedad team news
Problems off the field mean that Barcelona have been so far unable to register three of their new signings.
Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay are fit and ready to make their debuts for Barca but the club are unlikely to have registered them in time for the clash.
The other new face Sergio Aguero has picked up an injury and will not be registered until he is fully fit.
The absence of Depay will be keenly felt, with the departure of Messi and the injuries to Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati making Antoine Griezmann and Martin Braithwaite the only fit forwards available.
La Real meanwhile had three players competing with Spain at the Olympics and it remains to be seen whether Mikel Merino, Mikel Oyarzabal and Martin Zubimendi will feature.
Full-back Diego Rico is injured for the visitors as is new signing goalkeeper Matthew Ryan.
Barcelona vs Real Sociedad preview
Barca are at their lowest ebb for many years, with the loss of Messi set to have a major impact on the side.
Last season he led the team in goals scored, assists, shots per game, dribbles per game, as well as several other metrics and the side will have to find a new way of playing without the man who has been their attacking fulcrum for over a decade.
La Real meanwhile will feel they may never have a better chance to end their long winless streak at Camp Nou, with Imanol Alguacil boasting an extremely talented squad and facing a Blaugrana side low on confidence.
Last season the Basques were one of the top scoring sides in the division as well as being one of the best attacking outfits and there should be plenty of interest in backing them to find the back of the net on Sunday.
Barcelona vs Real Sociedad tips & predictions
Both teams to score is priced at 4/7 (1.57) but more appealing is backing Real Sociedad to score in the first half at 5/4 (2.25).
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