Barça kicks off this Saturday (12 noon) at the Johan Cruyff a real heart attack New Year's Eve. After the Metropolitano's victory and hosting Bayern on a magical night at the Camp Nou, the blaugranas have five games ahead of them in less than three weeks. In the League they will host Real Sociedad and recently promoted Alhama at home and in the Champions League they will visit the Allianz Arena (December 7, 9:00 p.m.), Benfica also at home, and they will close 2022 at the Camp Nou against Rosengård (December 21, 9:00 p.m. ). The duel against Valencia on matchday 13 is moved to February 1 for Barça and Real Madrid, the only Spaniards still standing in the Champions League.
The marathon will begin with the visit of Natalia Arroyo's Real Sociedad, fifth ranked in the F League. An always complicated team that is characterized by its high pressure and willingness to take the initiative in the match. "We are a team that likes to have the ball and create as many chances as possible," Giráldez explained in the preview. “We have a team in front of us whose tendency is to press high, have the ball and dominate the games. There will be a duel of styles to see who takes possession, who generates the most chances and who dominates the game”, predicted the Galician coach.
La Real arrives in great shape. They have only lost one game all season, against Madrid CFF in Zubieta, and Giráldez believes that the Gipuzkoan team "is in a very good moment due to the football they play and the results they are getting away from home". Although Barça is not far behind. Undefeated leader of the F League, he counts his games by goals and comes to the game after a clean week in which he has been able to recharge his batteries for the demanding final stretch of the season, for which the Barca coach expects him to see "one of the best matches” of the season.
If we look at the precedents, Real Sociedad has not won a game against Barça since the 2006-07 season, when the txuri-urdin team won both games (1-3 and 2-1). Since then, six draws and 26 Barca wins, especially painful the two from last season, in which the Catalans thrashed 8-1 and 9-1; and the 2020 Super Cup, in which Barça won 1-10. Despite everything, the attractive football proposal of the Basque team has always led to highly visible duels, beyond the scoreboard, so a great show is expected at the Johan in the penultimate game that it will host in 2022.