Real Sociedad and Real Madrid will face each other in a crucial La Liga match on Tuesday night at the Reale Arena. The hosts are aiming to secure a Champions League spot for next season, while the visitors, who admittedly have less to play for, will look to head into this Saturday’s Copa del Rey final with good momentum.
Real Sociedad are fourth in the standings, five points clear of fifth-placed Villarreal, and have won three of their last four league games. They most recently beat Osasuna 2-0 and Rayo Vallecano 2-1, while drawing 0-0 with Real Betis in between.
Real Madrid are second, 11 points behind leaders Barcelona, and have won five of their last six matches overall. While the league title is all but mathematically out of reach, they are still in contention for the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, as they will face Osasuna in the final of the former on May 6, and Manchester City in the semi-final of the latter on May 9.
Real Madrid’s biggest blip of late was a humiliating 4 - 1 loss away to Girona earlier this month. Real Sociedad manager Immanol Alguacil does not expect to see that version of Real Madrid tomorrow, as he outlined in today’s pre-game press conference:
The two teams played out a goalless draw at the Bernabeu in January, with Real Madrid having more possession and shots, but failing to break down Real Sociedad’s defense.
Real Sociedad will rely on their top scorer Alexander Sorloth, who has 14 goals and two assists this season. Brais Mendez, meanwhile, has 10 goals and seven assists. Those two have helped the attack in the absence of Mikel Oyarzabal, who missed nearly half the season due to a cruciate ligament rupture.
La Real also boast Takefusa Kubo in their starting XI. Real Madrid still have rights to the Japanese international, who has seven goals and three assists in La Liga this season.
Real Madrid will look to their talisman Karim Benzema, who has 17 goals and three assists in La Liga this season. The French striker scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 win over Almeria on Saturday, marking his third hat-trick in the past month. He is a complete forward, who can score with both feet and his head, as well as link up with his teammates.
Real Sociedad play a 4-1-3-2 of sorts, which is quite fluid. They play with a ‘double 10’ with Kubo and David Silva together, and one of them often goes into a second striker role. They like to press high and play with intensity and pace. They have scored 37 goals and conceded 29 in La Liga this season. They have the third best defense in the league in terms of goals allowed.
Real Madrid primarily play a 4-3-3 formation, with Benzema, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior as the attacking trio. Though, Vinicius will miss tomorrow’s game due to suspension. In his absence, expect to see Rodrygo take the left wing, while either Fede Valverde or Marco Asensio take the right wing.
Real Madrid will also be without Ferland Mendy, Luka Modric, and David Alaba (injured); while Eduardo Camavinga will be serving a suspension.
This is a tough game to call, as both teams have quality and motivation. Real Sociedad will be confident after their recent form and their home advantage, but Real Madrid will look to boost their own morale before the Copa final. A draw seems like a possible outcome, but a narrow win for either side would not be surprising either.
We say: Real Sociedad 1-1 Real Madrid