Real Madrid begin their title defense for the 2020-21 season on the road against Real Sociedad at the Anoeta.
Real start a week behind with the Basque side facing Valladolid last weekend. La Real drew 1-1 to kick off their new season.
Though a new season, Real are technically on an 11-match unbeaten streak in La Liga. They drew to Leganés in the last match of the season, but had won the 10 matches prior.
Los Blancos will unfortunately be missing some key players due to injury in this inaugural match. This makes it all the more important to come out strong and put forth some of their best effort to start the new year.
Eden Hazard will miss while still recovering from an ankle injury. Isco also will miss with an ankle injury of his own. Two other wingers, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez, will also miss with injuries.. Mariano has been left out of the squad after undergoing tonsillitis surgery. Eder Militão is also out.
Real Sociedad have several injuries of their own. Illarra misses with a muscle tear. Joseba Zaldúa, Igor Zubeldia, Willian Jose, Martin Merquelanz, Martin Zubamendi and Luca Sangalli will all be out as well. David Silva returns to the squad to make his club debut.
There are no suspensions for either side in Sunday’s match.
Remiro; Gorosabel, Elustondo, Llorente, Muñoz; López, Guevara, Merino; Portu, Oyarzabal, Isak
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Vinicius, Benzema
Zidane has decision to make between starting Ferland Mendy or Marcelo. Mendy finished out last season as the starter, so he may get the opening nod over a healthy Marcelo.
Modric may start as well, though he will likely see Fede Valverde come on at some point in his place.
The wing options are fairly sparse with Hazard, Asensio and Vazquez all out. It seems only logical that both Rodrygo and Vinicius will start alongside Benzema.
Ødegaard just got back to training with the squad, so he will likely start from the bench. Perhaps we will see him sub on to face his former loanee club.
Real Sociedad—Real Madrid 1-2
This will not be an easy match for Real Madrid by any means. Sociedad are a strong side who can give Real some fits.
Real will unfortunately have very little depth on the wings for this match, so it’s important that they get promising performances out of who will likely be Vinicius and Rodrygo.
It would not be expected to be a high-scoring match given Real will be shaking off some opening match rust. They’ll have to ease into their game and make sure they don’t give Sociedad any easy chances.
Zidane has a quite a bit of youth incorporated into Sunday’s squad, including Castilla’s Marvin and Sergio Arribas. While they likely won’t feature, other young players like Rodrygo and Vinicius will be called upon to aid the squad during a time of injuries.
It’s been about a month and a half since Real faced Manchester City, though it seems like it’s been much longer. It’ll be great to have La Liga football back from Real’s perspective and a good opening match to keep us all on our toes.