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Spanish Primera BBVA

Anoeta (ATT 26,000) 10th September 2011 - Kick off 17:00 Ref: M Lahoz

Sociedad Real Sociedad vs Barcelona Barcelona

Sociedad 2

I Agirretxe (59)
A Griezmann (61)

ft

Barcelona 2

Xavi (10)
C Fabregas (11)

Real Sociedad v Barcelona preview

Sociedad aiming to spring surprise on Pep's side

By Kristian Walsh.   Last Updated: 09/09/11 2:01pm

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Fabregas: Has made instant impact.

Fabregas: Has made instant impact.

Few teams have ever had the measure of Pep Guardiola's Barcelona juggernaut, but Real Sociedad are one of those few who know what it takes to beat them.

Barca have lost just three league matches in their last two league campaigns, with the most recent coming at Sociedad's Anoeta in April.

SKY BET MATCH ODDS

Real Sociedad 14/1, Draw 6/1, Barcelona 2/11. Bet here.

April's 2-1 win ensured Sociedad's 31-year-old record of 32 games with La Liga defeat remained in tact as Messi & Co were bowled out one short - but if Barcelona's victory over Villarreal is any evidence, that record will come under threat once again.

Real Sociedad won't care about records with just two weeks into the season - just picking up any point possible in a season where consolidation is paramount.

For the less well-equipped sides in the division, the temptation would be to write off fixtures against Barcelona and Real Madrid as four losses.

Not Sociedad. Having avoided relegation by two points last season, it can be argued Xabi Prieto's penalty past Victor Valdes ensures their aim this season is staying up, rather than going up.

They've started well this season, too. An impressive 2-1 win away to Sporting Gijon gave Philippe Montanier, this summer's managerial appointment from Valenciennes, the perfect start.

A double from Imanol Agirretxe provided not just three points, but optimism too, given the absences of Joseba Llorente, McDonald Mariga and Antoine Griezmann.

Their home form was impressive last season, their 2-1 win just one of 11 wins in San Sebastian; in fact, just two defeats in six against Barcelona at home represents a better record than most.

But this already appears a different Barcelona, which spells trouble for Sociedad, Spain, Europe and the entire world.

Dismantled

Seventy-one per cent possession, 18 shots on goal, five goals; Villarreal, a team of Champions League quality, painstakingly dismantled by Guardiola's machine.

The additions of Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez had an immediate impact. Both scored, while Fabregas excelled in a more advanced role. As Messi dropped deep, Fabregas pushed forward, essentially playing as a striker.

It was a role he seemed to take to easily; it's a role he'll have to take to easily in order to keep his place. Guardiola, denied his first-choice centre back partnership of Pique and Puyol, played the five of Thiago, Keita, Iniesta, Sanchez and Fabregas behind Messi, with Xavi and Villa on the bench.

The only criticism levelled at Barcelona at times last season was their lack of squad depth, something they've refuted with their summer signings. Complete perfection is being strived for.

The next step to that is righting one of the few wrongs of last year with a win against Montanier's men; anything else would be simply inexcusable.

Best Bet: Messi and Fabregas both to score - 3/1

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Table

Spanish Primera BBVA

Spanish Primera BBVA
Pos Team P Pts
1 Atletico Madrid 38 90
2 Barcelona 38 87
3 Real Madrid 38 87
4 Athletic Bilbao 38 70
5 Sevilla 38 63
6 Villarreal 38 59
7 Real Sociedad 38 59
8 Valencia 38 49
9 Celta Vigo 38 49
10 Levante 38 48
11 Malaga 38 45
12 Rayo Vallecano 38 43
13 Getafe 38 42
14 Espanyol 38 42
15 Granada 38 41
16 Elche 38 40
17 Almeria 38 40
18 Osasuna 38 39
19 Real Valladolid 38 36
20 Real Betis 38 25

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