Match Preview / Villareal – Real Sociedad

Matchday 35 – Villarreal v Real Sociedad – Match Preview

Sunday 24th April 2016

After the home defeat on Thursday by Getafe, Real travel to the Mediterranean coast to visit 4th placed Villarreal.  The home team enter this match looking for a win, following back to back defeats against Rayo Vallecano and Real Madrid in recent weeks.  However I think they will have too many attacking options for the porous Real defence to successfully resist.

Lacklustre Real Sociedad have also lost their last two games in La Liga, with both Eibar and Getafe beating them 2-1.  They appear to have little motivation following their fantastic victories against Sevilla and Barcelona.

I believe there is little prospect of returning home with anything from this trip, and Real supporters just want this season to end so that we can forget about it.  Filled with inconsistency and peppered with more than the occasional horrendous performance, the season draws to a close with few positives to remember.

On the plus side has been the emergence of Mikel Oyarzabal, who has proved to be a fine addition to the first team.  Aritz Elustondo has equally proved his worth, with his versatility of being about to play in more than one defensive position being a major benefit to the squad.  The November departure of David Moyes also proved to be a highlight.  The negatives are too numerous to mention at this point.

The loan players we signed for this season, (Bruma and Deigo Reyes) have overall been less than convincing.  Reyes is a bit inconsistent, but is able to fill the position of right centre back or defensive midfield.  The issue is that we don’t really need him as a defensive midfield player as we have sufficient other players to play this role.  With Sanse player Igor Zubeldia also appearing ready for promotion to the first team squad, the defensive midfield role has sufficient  candidates without Deigo Reyes.

As a central defender I think Reyes useful and he poses an attacking threat from set play, which is beneficial.  But judged solely as a central defender I would rate him at 6.5/7.0 out of 10, at the most.  Whether his stay continues is a matter of negotiation with his parent club Porto and will totally depend on the price.  I would value him at €4.5 million at the very highest and I expect this will fall well short of Porto’s assessment. On that basis I would say «Adios Diego.»

Bruma is just too lightweight.  Unless he is available at less than €1.5 million (very unlikely), he should also be allowed to leave.  Even at that price he appears to be no more than an impact substitute.

Eusebio has selected to following squad:

Rulli, Olazabal, Zaldua, Aritz, Mikel, Iñigo, Diego Reyes, Hector, Yuri, Markel Bergara, Pardo, Illarra, Zurutuza, Xabi Prieto, Bruma, Vela, Oyarzabal and Bautista.

Jonathas is dropped and replaced by Sanse striker Jon Bautista.  This is no more than Bautista deserves after his strong form for Sanse this season.  This could signal the beginning of the end for misfit striker Jonathas who has proved, in my opinion, to be a complete waste of money.

Bookmakers Bet 365 offer the following odds for this match:

Villarreal to win 3/4, Draw 11/4 and Real Sociedad to win 7/2.

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