Barcelona begin their 2021-22 La Liga season against Real Sociedad on Sunday with more questions than answers. Lionel Messi is gone after the team couldn't afford to keep him and stay within the rules set forth by La Liga with the Argentine now at Paris Saint-Germain. The Spanish giants have some new blood in the squad but will need somebody to become the creative superstar in attack for them to contend for any type of trophy.
Here's are storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
Barcelona: A lot of changes in the squad after a busy summer, with the most important change being the loss of Messi. But boy did they load up on some talent via free transfers. In comes Memphis Depay of Lyon, Messi's friend Sergio Aguero of Manchester City, and also City defender Eric Garcia. There is no doubt they need somebody to come to life at striker, especially with the inconsistency of Antoine Griezmann. Expect Depay to get the start in attack with Griezmann as Aguero is injured, but without Messi they could struggle to finish in the top four.
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Real Sociedad: After having won the 2019-20 Copa del Rey final last season, the club led by Imanol Alguacil hopes to take another step up this season with La Liga, the cup and Europa League participation. And they'll be doing it with essentially the same squad, not losing any key contributors. That cohesion should only improve with the same squad as David Silva commands the middle of the pitch. Sociedad have everything you need to get into the top four, and they can start their season off with a bang with a win at the Camp Nou. Expect to see an organized, competitive team that plays smart, and don't be surprised if they get something from this.
How to watch and odds
- Date: Sunday, Aug. 15 | Time: 2 p.m. ET
- Location: Camp Nou -- Barcelona, Spain
- TV: ABC and ESPN Deportes
- Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
- Odds: N/A (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Barca get off to a fantastic start with Depay scoring in the first half, but that defense struggles in the second half as the visitors manage to pick up a point. Pick: Barcelona 1, Real Sociedad 1