First game of the Sunday match programme will see Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad take on each other eager to turn the fortunes and start the new year with a win that would be a huge morale boost for both sides.
No sign of improvement
Rayo Vallecano have been on a dreadful run of five consecutive La Liga defeats which saw them drop to the second from bottom with only 14 points to the name after 17 rounds. Their last La Liga win came early in November against Granada, but since then Los Vallecanos have conceded 20 goals with the 10-2 loss to Madrid sounding the alarm bells which are still ringing high. Paco Jemez’s charges have scored only seven goals in the process and are heading into the game against Real Sociedad on the back on a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid. Javi Guerra has been the only bright spot in his team this season, as the experienced forward has been the most prolific player in Jemez’s team. The 33-year-old Spanish striker has netted nine times in his 15 appearances this season and last summer’s acquisition from Malaga has proved to be a proper signing.
The hosts are faced with a lot of squad problems at the beginning of the new year. Tono and Razvan Rat are the continued absentees, while they will be joined on the sildelines by David Cobeno and Patrick Ebert. Antonio Amaya is an injury doubt for the event.
Problems keep piling for Sociedad
David Moyes’ departure didn’t yield the expected results as Real Sociedad continued to struggle until the end of 2015. The Royals closed the calendar year in dramatic fashion as their 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid last Wednesday left Real Sociedad feeling disappointed and disgusted. Real Madrid were awarded two first-half penalties and the hosts were critical over the referee Jose Luiz Gonzalez. Real Sociedad’s president has even threatened to report the match official to the police after a number of decisions made during the La Liga tie against Los Blancos. Second consecutive loss following the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Villarreal has seen Real Sociedad drop to the 15th place in the standings. Eusebio Sacristan’s men are not out of danger as they are only two points clear of their Sunday opposition and another possible set-back could see them drop into the relegation zone. Real Sociedad have been one of the least effective La Liga sides this season with only 18 goals scored in 17 rounds. The majority of those have been scored by Imanol Agirretxe who notched as many as 12 goals so far, singlehandedly carrying the team on his back.
Visiting team is without Sergio Canales who is sidelined for the rest of the season after sustaining a cruciate ligament injury against Real Madrid. He will join Raul Navas and Esteban Granero in the treatment room. Team’s top scorer Agirretxe has picked up a knock against Los Blancos but should be fit to feature.
Considering their sticky patches and poor run of results, both Rayo Vallecano and Real Socieda will be eager to start the new year in different fashion and record a win that could kick-start their respective seasons. I expect to see an openly contested affair as both rivals need to open up and play straightforwardly if they want to make anything out of the encounter.
Pick: Both teams to score – Yes 1.8 (4/5) @BetVictor
Alternative pick 1: Over 2.5 goals 2.00 (1) @SkyBet
Alternative pick 2: Home win 2.63 (13/8) @Bet365