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FOTO: ARCHIVE FCB

It's once again time to change the chip. Three days after going to Mestalla for the first leg of the cup semi final and four days before the return at the Camp Nou, FC Barcelona entertain Real Sociedad in the league. With the city currently enduring freezing weather, Guardiola's side are looking to mount a comeback in the competition, but will be doing so against an in-form side that has finally managed to climb out of the relegation zone.

Against adversity

Once again, FC Barcelona have a lot going against them. The biggest problem is with injuries, as no fewer than five first team players are now on the sidelines, namely Afellay, Villa, Fontàs, Pedro and Iniesta, while Keita is still away in Africa, where his Mali side have qualified for the African Nations Cup quarter finals. And there is also the pressure of now being seven points adrift of the leader, and playing in unfamiliar circumstances, for the forecast for Saturday night is for subzero temperatures in the Catalan capital.

18 players

Guardiola has just 15 first team players available for the game, and has once again called in Sergi Roberto, Dos Santos and Tello from Barça B. The latter two already got a run-out on Wednesday night at Mestalla, and could well be in contention for places tonight as well, especially if the manager opts to rest any of Cesc, Messi, Alexis or Cuenca with the big cup tie with Valencia coming up on Wednesday.

Real Sociedad: one defeat in nine

But first up come Real Sociedad. The Basques got off to a dreadful start in the league, but since November have been making amends. They have only lost just one of the nine league matches played since then, and that has meant they have climbed to twelfth, with a distance of four points between them and the relegation zone. For the visit to the Camp Nou, Philippe Montanier recovers Demidov and Ros, but has lost both Elustondo and Zurutuza to injury.

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