Match Preview / Real Sociedad – Real Madrid

Matchday 36 – Real Sociedad v Real Madrid – Match Preview

Saturday 30th April 2016

BY PAUL MURRAY

Real Sociedad will be aiming to improve their statistics in home league meetings with Real Madrid when the two teams meet on Saturday.  Over history, the Txuri-urdin have played host to the side from the capital 68 times, with a balance of 21 home wins, 21 draws and 26 defeats.

Eusebio Sacristan’s men have only won once in their previous 17 La Liga games against Real Madrid, losing 13.  However a positive fact is that Xabi Prieto has scored more goals against Real Madrid than against any other La Liga side (nine).

The absence of Vela and Jonathas potentially leaves Real without a recognised striker for this match, unless Eusebio decides to give Sanse forward Jon Bautista his opportunity.  It would be a dream home debut for the youngster and I hope he is selected to start.

In-form Real Madrid have won nine consecutive La Liga games, which is their best run since 2014 when they won 12 in succession under Carlo Ancelotti.  Away from home, Real Madrid have not lost any of their last nine league games (W6 D3), scoring an average of 2.33 goals per game.

They have only lost twice on their travels in the league this season, but are currently in between the Champions League semi final fixtures, which may act as a distraction for them.  The absence of Inigo, due to injury, will not help the home team defence.

Good news for Real Sociedad is that neither Ronaldo or Benzema have been named in the travelling squad, also due to injury.  However Madrid are often stronger defensively when Ronaldo is absent and so this may pose a further problem for us as we have a tendency to be a little goal shy at the best of times.

Eusebio has selected to following squad:

Rulli, Olazabal, Zaldua, Elustondo, Mikel, Diego Reyes, Yuri, De la Bella, Héctor, Illarra, Markel, Granero, Rubén Pardo, Zurutuza, Bruma, Xabi Prieto, Oyarzabal and Bautista.

Absent due to injury are: Carlos Martinez, Raul Navas, Agirretxe, Jonathas and Inigo.  Carlos Vela misses out due to suspension.

The best news of this week saw Iñigo Martínez finally renewing his contract, with the new one set to run until 2021. After signing the new deal, President Jokin Aperribay said: “It is wonderful news for Real Sociedad that one of the pillars for the present and future of the team will continue with us. Iñigo carries Real Sociedad in his heart and is a player who represents our philosophy and the team’s ambitions”.

Inigo meanwhile, said he is “very happy to be able to continue for many more years, which is what I wanted. I am very proud to continue playing for this club. I wanted to extend my contract and finally, the day has arrived. Real Sociedad have made a huge effort for this to happen and I only hope I can repay them out on the pitch”.

Inigo’s buy out clause will be raised by an additional €10 million to €40m and the new deal makes him one of the best paid players at the club, in the same bracket as Carlos Vela, Asier Illarramendi and Jonathas, which was one of his demands.  Quite why Jonathas Is paid so much is a Complete mystery to me.

Inigo also expressed an interest in becoming Captain of the club in the future.  I believe that this should happen next season as current captain Xabi Prieto looks set to become a less influential player at the club.  It would seem a natural progression to me.

End of season transfer rumours are just getting going. Real are strongly linked with the signing of Juanmi of Southampton at the price of €2 million, which is less than half the price the Premier league club paid Malaga for him.  It is impossible to say whether he will add much to the Real squad as his time in England must be considered a totally failure. However he is the right age at 22 and his arrival would almost certainly confirm the departure of Bruma.  I would categorise his signing as potentially good business.

We have also been linked with the possibility of signing West Ham striker Emmanuel Emenike, who is on loan at the London club from Fenerbahce. He is a 28 year old Nigerian has had nearly as many clubs as Jonathas, and appears to be another non goal scoring striker.  I would recommend we avoid him at all costs.  Unless Loren wants to add him to his collection of bloody useless signings!

Finally Gero Rulli has apparently had an offer of a five year contract with Roma.  Currently we have no contractural hold over him after the season ends so it is very possible than he is playing his last few games for us.

Bookmakers Bet 365 offer the following odds for this match.

Real Sociedad to win 4/1, Draw 3/1 and Real Madrid to win 4/6.

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