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    R Sociedad


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Camp Nou, Spain

Attendance: 75000

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  • Neymar 5'
  • Lionel Messi 8'
  • Sergio Busquets 23'
  • Marc Bartra 77'

4 - 1


Real Sociedad

  • Alberto de la Bella 64'

Cesc gets a rest

Cesc Fabregas is the latest player to be rested by Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino after he was left out of the squad to face Real Sociedad on Tuesday.

The former Arsenal midfielder has played in all eight of the club's competitive games this season, but will play no part in the match with the Basques, meaning Barca's midfield is likely to consist of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets.

The latter has been recalled to the squad after being left out of the squad for the trip to Rayo Vallecano at the weekend.

Martino has rested a number of important players already this season, including Iniesta, Xavi and Pedro, who hit a hat-trick in the 4-0 win at Rayo.

The boss said: "We have to think about what state we'll be in by March or April. Our aim is to have all our players in top form by the end of each competition.

"At the moment of truth, perhaps we won't care about how many minutes players have had, we'll be more concerned about what we need to do."

And he said even Pedro was not guaranteed a place in the starting line-up against Real Sociedad.

"It's very difficult to rotate him after scoring three goals, but it could happen," he added. "The last thing we want is for our players to suffer during the game, we want them to be at 100 per cent so they can be at their best."

Although Barca have won all of their five league games, Martino has been criticised by sections of the media of trying to alter the team's style of possession football and bring in a longer-ball game.

The coach defended his team's style, and suggested he was receiving criticism because he did not fit the profile of the coach who pioneered that style at Barcelona, Johan Cruyff, or the man who took it to the highest level, Pep Guardiola.

"Whenever you have a team that has been as successful as this side, these debates will occur, especially when the coach isn't from Catalonia or from Holland," he said.

"But my main concern is how the players are performing and at the moment the team are solid and the players are happy, so that makes me relaxed."

Sociedad coach Jagoba Arrasate ruled out his side surrendering possession to Barca in order to defend, and promised his side would try to impose their game.

"If you sit back and close up shop at the Nou Camp, the game lasts forever," he said.

"We have to go out and play, but also close them down and work our socks off."

Arrasate has three players absent from the game, Esteban Granero and Diego Ifran, who face long layoffs after damaging knee ligaments, and Gorka Elustondo.

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