Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid will look to make it five wins in a row when they host Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu.
After a disappointing 2022/23 season, Real Madrid have bounced back in some fashion and are all set to square up against Real Sociedad on matchday five of the 2023/24 La Liga campaign. Los Blancos have won each of their games so far, while the visitors are yet to lose in the new season.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team look determined right from the start. They have not been at their best in all four of their league games so far, but they have got the job done every time they have stepped onto the pitch. Los Blancos are sitting at the top of the table with 12 points in their four outings.
They are heading into this encounter on the back of a 2-1 win over Getafe. They went behind very early in the game but managed to bounce back in the second half before sealing a win in added time thanks to their newest galactico Jude Bellingham.
Meanwhile, the visitors are unbeaten in the new season. But, the major concern is that they have only won one of their four matches. They started off with three back-to-back draws before winning their final game before the international break.
Real Sociedad secured all three points against Granada with a 5-3 win. While the scoreline might suggest that it was an even contest, the reality is that Sociedad dominated the proceeding. Former Real Madrid star Takefusa Kubo led the charge with two goals and sealed the win for his team.
The visitors will head into this encounter high on confidence and they will look for all three points but it won’t be easy given the current form of Los Blancos. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the two teams and tries to predict the tactics they could deploy.
Team News and Tactics
The home side already have quite a few important players out because of injuries. The likes of Eder Militao, Thibaut Courtois, Arda Guler and Vinicius Junior have suffered injuries quite early in the season and will remain unavailable.
Meanwhile, Ferland Mendy and Dani Ceballos have returned to full training post their return from injuries, and they should return to the matchday squad. But, both of them are unlikely to make it to the XI for this fixture.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) September 16, 2023
Carlo Ancelotti is expected to stick to the 4-4-2 formation, where Jude Bellingham will be the attacking midfielder in front of the midfield three. Summer signing Kepa Arrizabalaga will be in goal.
Fran Garcia and Dani Carvajal should continue as full-backs. The duo will look to join the attack and provide the much-needed width to their attacks. With Militao still out, Antonio Rüdiger will once again pair up with David Alaba in the heart of the defence.
The duo of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos might once again start on the bench. Meanwhile. Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni will be the midfield three behind Bellingham. In attack, Joselu will start alongside Rodrygo Goes with Vinicius still out injured.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Kepa; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Fran Garcia; Valverde, Tchouameni, Camavinga; Bellingham; Rodrygo, Joselu
The visitors will be without the services of Martin Merquelanz and Andre Silva, who are out injured. Meanwhile, the participation of Umar Sadiq is in doubt following a knock that he picked up recently.
— Real Sociedad 🇺🇸 🇬🇧 (@RealSociedadEN) September 15, 2023
Head coach Imanol Alguacil is expected to stick with the same playing XI that took the field in their last outing before the international break. REal Sociedad will start in a 4-3-3 formation where Alex Remiro will be in goal.
Hamari Traore and Kieran Tierney should be the full-backs for this fixture. The duo will have a lot of defending to do as they look to support their centre-backs Igor Zubeldia and Robin Le Normand against a star-studded Madrid team.
Martin Zubimendi will be the defensive midfielder in the centre of the park. And, he will have the support of Brais Mendez and Mikel Merino. The trio will look to dominate the ball and control the tempo of the game. But, it won’t be easy given the strength of the opposition’s midfield.
Takefusa Kubo, recently linked with his former club Real Madrid, will start on the right flank, while Ander Barrenetxea will take charge on the left. Finally, Mikel Oyarzabal will lead the line for Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Remiro; Traore, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Tierney; Mendez, Zubimendi, Merino; Kubo, Oyarzabal, Barrenetxea
- In the last 44 meetings between the two teams, Real Madrid have won 26 matches while Real Sociedad have won just nine time.
- Real Madrid have won each of their first four league games this season.
- Real Sociedad are unbeaten so far this season with three draws and a win.
- Los Blancos have only lost once in their last 12 home games.
- The visitors have only won one out of their last six away games.
Player to Watch
Real Madrid broke the bank to acquire the services of Bellingham in the recently-concluded transfer window. And, the 20-year-old midfielder has had the best possible start to life in Madrid. He is scoring goals for fun and is deciding matches on his own.
Bellingham already has six goal contributions in four La Liga games. He is at the top of the scoring charts in the league and could easily end up deciding this match against Real Sociedad. Given his recent form, he is most likely to be the difference between the two teams.
Real Madrid 3-1 Real Sociedad
`Real Sociedad will head into this match high on confidence following their win last time out. But, it won’t be easy for them as Real Madrid have been in red-hot form right from the start of the new season.
Los Blancos might not have dominated their opposition but they have got the job done every time they have stepped onto the field. Meanwhile, the visitors might be unbeaten so far, but they were not at their best in their first three outings. Given the difference in quality of the two teams, The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for the home team.