Paul Murray’s Pre match Thoughts Fix.2

La Reala first home game of the season against the recently promoted Sporting should offer an interesting encounter. The visitors will be looking to follow their surprising and impressive opening day draw against the mighty Real Madrid with another strong performance.  Conversely, Real will be seeking all 3 points to mark the long awaited and much heralded return of Asier Illarramendi.

This is a fixture that both teams will feel confident they can take points from with Real traditionally strong at home and Sporting on a high after winning promotion by finishing second in the Segunda last season and starting strongly in this campaign.  Sporting are strong defensively only conceding 27 goals in 42 league matches last season.  However they struggle a bit to score only managing 57 goals in their successful promotion season.

The return of Illarra will certainly boost numbers attending today and the fans will really welcome him back.  The signing is an ambitious move by President Aperibay which signals his intention to mount a challenge for a European qualification this season.  We never really replaced Illarra after he left 2 seasons ago and his reintroduction should restore a strong midfield platform for us to build from.

I believe Illarra will start today with Moyes picking a strong attacking line up in an attempt to win all 3 points.  Jonathas and Vela will have their first opportunity at the Anoeta to develop a partnership that certainly looks promising on paper, and there were clues in the last match against Depor that they could form a potent attacking partnership.

I hope that today will see Moyes reintroducing the midfield partnership of Markel and Illarra with Bruma dropping to the bench, but I doubt this will happen.  I expect that Markel will be on the bench with Illarra being given the task of protecting the back 4.  In my opinion this job is better suited to Markel with Illarra playing further forward.  But there will be pressure for us to attack from the start and my favoured formation may have to wait until later in the season and until Moyes has had the opportunity to fully assess all available options.

Our defence looks much stronger this season with Reyes and Inigo looking assured in the central area.  So far this season De la Bella appears to have won the left back position from Yuri which is a selection I fully support.  Yuri is too aggressive and is prone to losing his discipline, giving away too many free kicks close to our goal.  However I would still like to see Hector given an extended opportunity.

I predict an open game and a win for Real  2-1.

Aupa Real !!

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