Real Madrid return to the Bernabéu when they take on Real Sociedad on Saturday. Los Blancos hold the second spot in LaLiga and currently tied on points with Barcelona.
Real Sociedad have been quite good this season. They are currently fifth in the league table, just two points behind Real Madrid. They have also held the top spot at times during this season.
Of course this also means that loanee Martin Ødegaard will make an appearance against his parent club at the Bernabéu. He has been phenomenal this season and is truly taking the next step in his development. This will be a good chance for him to show what he’s learned to Real Madrid.
Real Madrid remain without Marco Asensio and Nacho. James Rodriguez also remains out after missing the entirety of the international break. Lucas Vazquez is out with a fractured toe. Vinicius has been left out of the squad with Gareth Bale returning.
Sociedad will be without Ruben Pardo, Ahien Muñoz and Illarra. Ødegaard has been cleared from injury and will play.
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Hazard, Benzema
Valverde has started in the last two matches. It would be a shame to not do so here after scoring against Eibar in the last match. A case can be made for either him or Modric to start, who Zidane will have to decided between.
The other decision Zidane faces is who to start on the right wing. With Bale back and included in the squad, he may hold the upper hand. Rodrygo has played really well, but being young he doesn’t really need to be rushed to start every match.
Remiro; Zaldúa, Le Normand, Llorente, Monreal; Zubeldia, Merino; Portu, Ødegaard, Oyarzabal, Willian Jose
Real Madrid—Real Sociedad 3-1
This will be a tough match for Real Madrid, even at home. In the roundtable discussion earlier this season, I said this would be the surprisingly tough match for Los Blancos this season. Real Madrid have also been quite good as well, though.
Sociedad have been really good this season and a big part of that has been Ødegaard. This is arguably his most important match this season, so he will want to shine in front of a crowd that eventually will be his fans. He said he wouldn’t celebrate if he scores, but Real will have to ensure he and his teammates don’t score at all.
This could well be Real’s toughest match outside of the Madrid Derby so far. They’ve done really well to keep clean sheets as of late. They haven’t conceded a goal in their last five matches across all competitions. Sociedad can score, though, as they have only scored four less goals than Real this season.
It’ll be quite the interesting duel between two top five sides. Real need to maintain form to keep steady with a trending Barcelona. It’ll also be great to see Ødegaard in action at the Bernabéu while on loan. This will be a great match to reintroduce the league after the international break.