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La Liga, Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad: Match review

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid earned a convincing win in a very cold Madrid evening. For their first game without Cristiano Ronaldo, Ancelotti decided to start Gareth Bale on the left flank, James on the right and a midfield of Kroos, Illarramendi and Isco in which the German player was the one playing deep. Ancelotti announced during Friday's pre-match press conference that he wanted to give Lucas Silva some minutes, but ultimately left him out of the squad and the bench, meaning that Asier Illarramendi had a chance to prove himself as a candidate for that spot, although his performance did not live up to the expectations.

Things did not start well for Real Madrid, as Real Sociedad earned a 0-1 lead just 46 seconds after the kick-off. Moyes' team managed to get Elustondo free inside the box on a corner-kick and did not waste that opportunity. Luckily enough for Real Madrid, Sociedad's lead did not last and James was able to score the equaliser barely a minute later.

Moyes' side was creating some dangerous opportunities while defending properly against Real Madrid as well, at least until Sergio Ramos' broke their wall after another set piece to put his team ahead 2-1. The spotlight was on Gareth Bale, as the Welsh attacker missed a big chance to make it 3-1 when Real Sociedad's goalkeeper Rulli was away from his own goal. Bale's attempt was likely deflected,  but it was still a big miss that did not prevent him from redeeming himself during the second half.

Bale combined beautifully with Karim Benzema inside Real Sociedad's box and received the ball back. Right when he was facing the keeper, Bale decided to assist Benzema, who just had to push the ball in to increase Real Madrid's lead. After that, it was a much easier game for Los Blancos, who controlled the game perfectly and forced Real Sociedad to play in their own half even though they were trailing by two goals.

Isco's performance should be noted. The Spanish playmaker came back from his minor injury and completed a brilliant performance playing alongside Kroos and Illarramendi. It's quite obvious that, right now, he prefers to play closer to the opposition's box than doing it deeper, and it should be that way once Modric is back if Ancelotti decides to keep Isco in the starting XI over James.

The match was well under Real Madrid's control, and Ancelotti decided to introduce Jesé in James' spot with 15 minutes left. Shortly after, Karim Benzema got his brace with a brilliant finesse shot, something that convinced Ancelotti of putting both Khedira and Chicharito in the game. There was still some more time for Bale to miss another huge chance on a counterattack, but his previous assist was enough enough for the Bernabéu not to whistle him this time around.

Overall, this was a good performance and a good 4-1 win for Real Madrid. The win was never in danger when Ramos scored the 2-1 goal, and Los Blancos will now be focused on playing this way against Sevilla and Atlético de Madrid in what wille be two games that could play a big part in the 2014-2015 Liga BBVA title.

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