Real Sociedad host Atletico Madrid at Reale Arena in San Sebastien on Tuesday. The hosts sit three points off log leaders, Atleti despite a poor recent run of form. A victory would take them level with the table toppers but having played three more matches. Sociedad took four points off Atleti last season and will hope this is the match to turn their form around.
Real Sociedad Form
Coach Imanol Alguacil oversaw a very strong start to the season. After 10 La Liga matches, his side sat top of the table with 23 points after seven wins and two draws. With 21 goals scored and 10 clean sheets, the side were at their very best.
Since then, Sociedad have gone five La Liga matches without a win. They drew three on the bounce before consecutive defeats to Barcelona and Levante. They took the lead in both matches but lost 2-1 on the road.
If we include the Europa League, they are eight matches without a win (D6, L2).
Real Sociedad Team News
The biggest reason for the team’s major dip in results is injuries to key players. David Silva is currently out with a muscle problem and wide forward Mikel Oyarzabal has missed the last five matches. Adnan Januzaj also missed the last match on the wing and is a doubt for this one.
They also remain without three long-term injury victims in Alex Sola at right back, Luca Sangalli in midfield and Asier Illarramendi in the midfield holding role.
Real Sociedad Motivation
In their current form and with so many crucial attacking players missing, Sociedad would probably be quite happy to take a draw and try to slowly build some momentum and form once again as they wait for their top players to return. A defeat would see them six points behind Atletico having played three extra matches so their title hopes would be hanging by a thread. That makes this match a “must not lose”.
Atletico Madrid Form
Atleti have made a great start to this season, even if their recent defeat in the Madrid derby was a blow. In the first 10 La Liga matches, they won eight and drew two with two just goals conceded. They then lost in the league for the first time this season as Real Madrid beat them 2-0.
Diego Simeone’s side responded well to that loss by beating Elche 3-1 in their last match as Luis Suarez scored a brace and Diego Costa added a third from the penalty spot.
Atletico Madrid Team News
Atletico remain with their top centre back in Jose Gimenez for this match as he recovers from a knee problem. The good news from the last match was the return of Diego Costa for the final 17 minutes and he netted a penalty to boost his confidence.
Simeone has been very flexible this season and could use either a 3-5-2 formation or 4-4-2 shape defending on his approach for this away game. Hector Herrera and Lucas Torreira are both doubts in central midfield but the side has plenty of depth there so won’t miss the duo too much.
Atletico Madrid Motivation
Simeone is expected to play for the win in this match but he is not going to risk defeat. With Real Madrid now joint-top of La Liga (second on goal difference) albeit having played two more matches, there is no room to lose this match.
Atletico may therefore go with a 3-5-2 shape and leave Thomas Lemar out on the right flank in favour of an extra central midfielder or central defender.
Real Sociedad have won none of their last 8 matches
Real Sociedad are 5 La Liga without a win (L2, D3)
Sociedad have kept 1 clean sheet in their last 7 matches
Sociedad are 5 matches unbeaten at home in La Liga (W3, D2)
Sociedad have drawn their last 3 home matches
Atletico Madrid have conceded 5 goals in 12 league matches (best in La Liga)
Atleti are averaging 2.0 goals scorer per game in the league (best in La Liga)
Atletico have lost 1 of their last 13 away La Liga matches
Atletico Madrid have drawn 6 of their last 13 away La Liga matches
This is a big match at the top of La Liga and could be quite cagey and physical to start with. Sociedad are not at their best but they are still a fine side and may have enough to take a point at home from this match but it’s hard to see them beating such a formidable Atletico Madrid team.