A couple years ago, Iker Muniain appeared to be Liga BBVA's most promising winger. Now, a French kid called Antoine Griezmann is impressing everybody and finally living up to expectations. He's also helped by Mexican striker Carlos Vela and Rubén Pardo.
While Real Sociedad didn't start the season well after coach Montanier's departure to Rennes, Arrasate's team have found their groove in La Liga. Still, their Champions League season should've been better, and they're now facing elimination from the European competition. A truly disappointment for a team that could've done better.
Real Sociedad struggled after Asier Illarramendi's signing for Real Madrid. The Basque midfielder was the team's most important piece. He was the one player that made Real Sociedad's system work. They signed former Real Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero to replace him and change their gameplan, but El Pirata soon torn his knee and will not make his return until April 2014. That's why Arrasate is playing with Markel Bergara and young playmaker Rubén Pardo in the midfield.
Just in front of them, Xabi Prieto, Vela, Griezmann and Seferovic -or Agirretxe- are set to start and challenge Real Madrid's defenders. Vela and Griezmann are Real Sociedad's main talents, while Xabi Prieto and the striker provide a good workrate to prevent Real Madrid from starting plays with the defensive line. Vela and Griezmann are not easy to stop. They are always fast and they know each other quite enough to make combinations and harm the defense. Considering how bad Madrid's defensive line is playing at the moment, Real Sociedad will surely be a tough team to stop.
Carlos Martínez, Iñigo Martínez, Mikel González and José Ángel should be Arrasate's choice to keep a clean sheet. Carlos Martínez and José Ángel know how to play offensively but they should be focused on defense at the Bernabéu. José Ángel was a fine prospect who joined AS Roma a couple of seasons ago, but he's now playing for Real Sociedad, and he's doing it well. Centerback Iñigo Martínez was rumoured to be a FC Barcelona target this summer and he has already been called by Vicente Del Bosque a couple of times. He's a very good center back for his age -still 22 years old- and he's already Real Sociedad's best defender. He should leave the club next summer if everything goes as expected.
Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo will be the last man standing in front of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema's mission. While he's decent, he's not an underrated star like Willy Caballero.
Real Sociedad will surely be a tough challenge for Real Madrid if Ancelotti's men are not ready enough to step their game up before this FIFA break.