Real Sociedad will be hoping to maintain their perfect record in the new season when they welcome European and Spanish champions Real Madrid to the Anoeta Stadium on Sunday.
Real Sociedad in superb form
Three rounds into the new La Liga season Real Sociedad have proven to be the biggest surprise of the Spanish domestic championship. With just a goal difference keeping them behind leaders Barcelona, the Basque side boasts a perfect record of three wins and are now in front of the biggest challenge to maintain it. The last time Txuri-urdinak had such a wonderful start to the season in the Spanish league, they ended up winning it which was more than 35 years ago. Eusebio Sacristan’s men face a perfect chance to prove their title credentials this weekend against the reigning champions but Real Sociedad boss will not pressure his players as he claims their goal needs to be to enjoy every minute as much as possible. Sacristan has done a fantastic job with a group of skilful players occupying the midfield positions and forwards who are doing great to capitalize on scoring opportunities. Sociedad bagged 10 goals in three matches in the league, more than any other Spanish side, while their fantastic scoring form continued during the week against Rosenborg in the Europa League. The Basque put four past helpless Norwegian giants and will surely hope to extend the trend against Real Madrid. It will be easier said than done but they will not budge in front of the challenge.
The hosts will have to do without Carlos Martinez who is out with a knee injury, whereas Inigo Martinez is also unavailable. Raul Navas has picked up a back injury, whereas there is a big question mark over the availability of Mikel Oyarzabal.
A costly victory for Real Madrid
European champions launched their Champions League title defense with a comprehensive 3-0 win over APOEL. Cristiano Ronaldo capitalized on an assist from Gareth Bale early in the match to crack the guests open, whereas the same player doubled the lead shortly after the break from the penalty spot. Sergio Ramos made sure Real Madrid grabbed a comfortable win which still comes at a great cost. The Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic suffered a partial adductor tear against APOEL which forced him out of the match after only 25 minutes. Worse yet, the midfielder will be ruled out for full two months due to the extent of the injury in his right leg. Los Blancos have plenty of depth in their squad to cover up to Kovacic’s absence and are expected to make a great push towards the top of the table after a mixed start to the season. Zidane’s men are sitting in seventh with one win and two draws and are determined to show that this is just a temporary slip-up. The Spanish giants boast a great record when it comes to clashes against Real Sociedad and will hope to extend their streak of five consecutive wins over the Basque side.
In addition to Mateo Kovacic, Real Madrid will have Marco Asensio unavailable through illness and Karim Benzema ruled out with a muscle injury. Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo are suspended for the occasion.
Real Sociedad might be enjoying the form of their life after three consecutive league wins which put them high up the standings, but Real Madrid are no pushovers. Los Blancos have won their last five matches against the Basque side and boast a more quality team that will be able to deal with Sociedad even without their biggest star of the show, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Top pick: Real Madrid 1.70 (7/10) @SkyBet
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – yes 1.52 (11/21) @888sport
Alternative pick 2: Real Madrid & Both teams to score 2.80 (9/5) @WilliamHill