Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad: Preview and Prediction
With the first international break of the season done and dusted, the attention switches back to club football. La Liga leaders Real Madrid are set to host Real Sociedad at the newly renovated Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday evening. Los Blancos are the only team in the Spanish top division who have yet to drop a point since the start of the new campaign.
While Carlo Ancelotti’s men are sitting pretty atop the La Liga standings as they look to further consolidate their lead at the top, La Real are currently in eighth place with just one win and a tally of six points.
It has been a tumultuous start to the season for Imanol Alguacil’s men who also have the UEFA Champions League group stage clash against Inter Milan next week. Games will be coming thick and fast now and Sociedad need to pull up their socks.
Despite their rocky start to the campaign, La Real haven’t faced any defeats. Madrid might have a hard time against them, especially in the absence of Vinicius Junior but they’ll be counting on Jude Bellingham who has five goals already for his new club.
Coming to the current form of the two teams, Los Blancos have started the league flawlessly even though many expected them to struggle in the absence of Karim Benzema. With Vinicius and Rodrygo Goes leading the line, the two Brazilians have had a helping hand from Bellingham who has barely put a foot wrong. Not only has he scored in every game of the season so far, the Englishman has been solid defensively as well.
Ancelotti’s side began their new La Liga season with a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao, Rodrygo and Bellingham were among the goals. They then defeated Almeria 3-1 courtesy of a Bellingham brace and Vinicius’ late goal, Bellingham also scored late to salvage a narrow 1-0 win over Celta Vigo. Another late goal from the 20-year-old helped Madrid steal all three points during a 2-1 win over Getafe before the break.
On the other hand, La Real started their campaign with a 1-1 draw at home against Girona, former Madrid player Takefusa Kubo’s early goal was cancelled out by Artem Dovbyk. Alguacil’s men then were held to another 1-1 draw with Celta, Ander Barretnetxea opened the scoring but Oscar Mingueza stole a point with a late leveller.
A 0-0 stalemate with Las Palmas was followed by a 5-3 thumping win over Granada. Kubo scored a brace while Martin Zubimendi, Barretnetxea and Miki Bosch’s own goals secured the first win of the season.
Unfortunately for them, just as they were starting to pick up momentum the international break came and now they resume from scratch. This fixture will also see the current top two goalscorers in the league – Bellingham and Kubo come face to face so maybe it could be a high-scoring encounter.
These two teams have locked horns on 44 occasions previously, Los Blancos have the upper hand having won 26 matches, whereas Sociedad have emerged victorious on nine occasions.
The last time they played each other was in May when Alguacil’s men secured a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Kubo and Barretnetxea.
Despite their unbeaten start to the league campaign, Ancelotti’s side has been marred by injuries as they’ve lost three key players from last season to injuries recently. Vinicius limped out of the fixture against Celta with a thigh issue adding to the long-term injuries of Thibaut Courtois, and Eder Militao, both of whom suffered ACL blows.
Vinicius recently shared a video of his recovery but he will not be available against Sociedad in any case, Ancelotti could offer an update on his return in his pre-match presser.
Ferland Mendy has been absent for a while with a muscle injury and it remains to be seen whether he will be in the matchday squad for La Liga’s return. Arda Guler (knee) and Dani Ceballos (hamstring) are also likely to be missing from the squad.
La Real meanwhile have the luxury of a near-full-strength squad to choose from, only two players are likely to miss the trip to Santiago Bernabeu. Andre Silva (hip injury) is expected to return before the end of the month while Martin Merquelanz Castellanos is ruled out until October with a knee issue. No players are suspended for this clash in either team.
Predicted Starting XIs
Real Madrid (4-4-2): Kepa Arrizabalaga; Dani Carjaval, David Alaba, Antonio Rudiger, Fran Garcia; Aurelien Tchouameni, Fede Valverde, Toni Kroos, Jude Bellingham; Rodrygo, Joselu.
Real Sociedad (4-3-3): Álex Remiro; Hamari Traoré, Igor Zubeldia, Robin Le Normand, Kieran Tierney; Brais Méndez, Martín Zubimendi, Mikel Merino; Takefusa Kubo, Mikel Oyarzabal, Ander Barrenetxea.
Ancelotti’s men will certainly fancy their chance of a fifth consecutive win in La Liga against Sociedad. La Real will not make it easy for the league leaders but they’ve shown this season that they know how to churn out results and this should be another tough game.