Barcelona will be out to end an 11-year wait for a Liga win at Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Barca beat La Real 1-0 at Anoeta in the Copa del Rey last season, but their previous League victory on Los Txuriurdin’s home soil came all the way back in May 2017.
The Catalans’ task has also been made more difficult by Nelson Semedo pulling out of the squad, the right-back joining Aleix Vidal, Gerard Deulofeu and Rafinha on the sidelines.
La Real, meanwhile, have seen their bright start to the season collapse, with only one win in their last seven Liga games, leaving them 14th in the table Coach Eusebio Sacristan under huge pressure to keep his job.
“I’m a Coach and I know what my job is,” he said at a Press conference.
“Still, more than thinking about the negativity, I prefer to focus on my day-to-day work and not think about the future.
“Do I feel support? I’ve always felt very comfortable at this club, with everything I have around me, but I know that I’m a coach and my job depends on results.
“That’s why I’m working hard for them to arrive. We haven’t achieved the consistency that we want, but we have a clear path ahead of us and we’ll get what we want.
“I’m convinced that, if we give our best performance, we’ll stand toe to toe with Barcelona.”
Striker Imanol Agirretxe is back in the Basques’ team after four months injured, but goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli is a late fitness doubt.
The Blaugrana can be crowned winter champions with victory over La Real and move 19 points clear of arch-rivals Real Madrid at the top.
Real Sociedad (probable): Rulli; Odriozola, Diego Llorente, Raul Navas, Kevin; Prieto, Illarramendi, Zurutuza; Januzaj, Willian Jose, Oyarzabal
Injuries/suspensions: De la Bella, Carlos Martinez, Inigo (I)
Barcelona (probable): Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Vermaelen, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Paulinho; Messi, Suarez
Injuries/suspensions: Coutinho, Alcacer (I)
Referee: Gonzalez Gonzalez
Form guide: La Real – 13th (L W D L L) Barca – 1st (W W W W D)
Previous meeting: La Real 1-0 Barca
Kick-off time: 19:45 GMT/20:45 local time