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Scouting the opposition: What to expect from Real Sociedad

A must win trip for Real Madrid at the Anoeta

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Real Sociedad de Futbol v Real Madrid CF - La Liga
Mateo Kovacic of Real Madrid duels for the ball with Asier Illarramendi of Real Sociedad during the La Liga match between Real Sociedad de Futbol and Real Madrid at Estadio Anoeta on August 21, 2016 in San Sebastian, Spain.
Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

The Anoeta has been a happy thumping ground for Real Madrid for years now but Real Sociedad is having a great start in their La Liga campaign and would surely try to keep their impressive run going.

Let's take a look at what challenge La Real can bring to Los Blancos this time.

What to expect:

Real Sociedad have not won against Real Madrid in their last five meetings in La Liga. The club from San Sebastian have conceded 13 goals and only managed to score three times against Real Madrid in five matches. Since 2004, La Real have only managed to win twice, drawing twice and losing seven times at the Anoeta against Los Blancos.

Currently, Real Sociedad sit atop the La Liga table together with Barcelona with nine points in three matches, they are also the highest scoring side in La Liga with 10 goals. Their rich vein of form in front of goal was also carried over to their Europa League opener, dismantling Rosenborg 4-0 at home.

Despite being a defender, Real Madrid youth product Diego Llorente is joint top scorer for La Real with three goals in all competitions so far. Malaga born striker Juanmi also has three goals to his name, scoring in all La Liga matches for La Real this season.

Manager Eusebio Sacristan Mena is known to stick with his preferred eleven on his favored 4-3-3 formation. He likes to keep possession, playing with width and attacking through the middle by creating chances using through balls and attacking set pieces using their prowess in aerial duels. The middle of the field is their strongest area, manned by the astutely composed trio of Xabi Prieto, Asier Illaramendi and David Zurutuza.

However, their problem as a whole unit is that they are kinda weak in stopping opponents from creating chances and protecting their lead, as obvious in their goal-fest outings against Celta Vigo and Deportivo La Coruna in which they have to score late in the second half to win both matches.

Real Sociedad will be forced to face Real Madrid without key players Inigo Martinez, Raul Navas and Mikel Oyarzabal. The trio will miss Sunday's clash through injury and it is a huge blow to La Real's hopes of success against Los Blancos.

Player to watch: Asier Illaramendi

The former madridista have revived his career upon returning to his childhood club after spending most of his time on the bench as a subsitute in his two-year stint with Real Madrid.

Now he is again pulling the strings for La Real in the middle of the field, effectively doing his stuff ---both defensively and offensively, the same reasons which made Real Madrid signed him for a record transfer for a Spanish player back in 2013.

He scored two beautiful goals in their last La Liga outing against Deportivo La Coruna, the first was a 30 yard screamer in the middle of the field and the second was an amazing solo effort coming from the right side of the field cutting thru the penalty box going to the middle for the winning goal.

Expected line-up: 4-3-3


Odriozola - Elustondo - Llorente - Rodrigues

Xabi Prieto - Illaramendi - Zurutuza

Januzaj - Willian Jose - Juanmi

How to watch

Date: 09/17/2017

Time: 20:45 CET, 02:45pm EST, 11:45 am Pacific.

Venue: Anoeta, San Sebastian, Spain.

Available TV: BeIN Sports (USA), Sky Sports Football (UK), Canal+ Partidazo (Spain).

Available Streaming: BeIN Sports (USA), Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream, click here to sign up and benefit from a summer discount for new members and Managing Madrid readers).

Prediction: Real Sociedad 1 (William Jose) - 2 Real Madrid (Isco, Asensio)

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