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Real Madrid are three points adrift of the top spot in the fight for the La Liga title
Real Sociedad are threatening to enter the title race after a fine run of form
This promises to be an entertaining encounter - and one you will not want to miss
The odds for Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad are brought to you from the DraftKings sportsbook, where a deposit bonus of up to $1000 is available right now.
The visitors to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu will give the champions a tough game, and we expect it to be a highly watchable affair too.
Back both teams to score and over 2.5 goals when Real Madrid take on Real Sociedad this weekend. (+125)
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Real Madrid fans could hardly have asked for a better start to the 2022/23 season. Of the 33 points available from their first 11 games, Carlo Ancelotti’s side collected 31. Their solitary slip-up was a 1-1 draw with Osasuna at the start of October but in the grand scheme of things Madrid were flying high.
The problem was that Barcelona were too. Madrid’s arch-rivals largely kept pace with them over that period, dropping points only in a 0-0 draw with Rayo Vallecano and a 3-1 defeat at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in the first Clasico of the campaign.
Over the last few game weeks, both before and after World Cup 2022, Madrid have stuttered. They have emerged victorious in only half of their last six La Liga encounters, which has allowed Barcelona to open up a three-point lead at the summit of the standings.
There is still a long way to go and that sort of margin is patently surmountable, but Madrid’s performances over the last three months have been patchy.
They also lost to Barcelona in the final of the Supercopa de Espana earlier in January, and the best online sportsbooks currently have Xavi Hernandez’s side down as the favorites for the La Liga title.
Madrid need to recapture their consistency. In that regard, a 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao last weekend was a positive development. The Blancos turned in a dominant display at San Mames, which is one of the toughest grounds in Spain for visiting teams to go to.
Three of Madrid’s next four league games are on home turf. All of those matches will take place before the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Liverpool on February 21. Madrid should not be thinking about Europe right now: the La Liga title race deserves their full attention.
Real Sociedad have not competed in the Champions League since the 2013/14 campaign. At the start of this season, they were only outsiders in the race to finish in the top four and thus qualify for Europe’s premier competition.
Yet as we prepare to reach the midway point of the season this weekend, Real Sociedad are flying high. They are currently third in the standings and have opened up a seven-point lead over Atletico Madrid in fourth.
Indeed, there has even been talk of Imanol Alguacil’s side mounting a challenge for the championship crown. They are six points adrift of Barcelona in the top spot at present, but a victory on Sunday would move them level with Real Madrid in second. It is still a long shot, but as things stand we cannot rule Real Sociedad out of the title race.
Simply being in the conversation is a remarkable achievement. Alguacil has done a tremendous job up in San Sebastian. He led Real Sociedad to Copa del Rey glory in 2021 - their first trophy in 34 years - and has taken the team to another level this term.
Over the last six rounds of fixtures in La Liga, no side has a better record than Real Sociedad. A 2-0 win at Rayo Vallecano last time out made it five victories on the bounce in the top flight, propelling la Real into the title picture ahead of Sunday’s showdown with the champions.
One thing that has stood out in Real Sociedad’s recent unbeaten run is their defensive solidity. Their backline has been breached just twice in their last five La Liga outings, while they have now kept seven clean sheets this season.
In terms of overall goals conceded, Real Sociedad have only the eighth-best record in the league. But if you dig deeper and look at the expected goals data, it shows that only Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao are giving up fewer chances than Alguacil’s men.
Shutting out Real Madrid’s attack at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu will be a tall order, however. Ancelotti’s team have scored in every home game they have contested this season. A clean sheet will probably be beyond Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Equally, though, Madrid’s backline will be in for a tricky 90 minutes. Real Sociedad are a proactive, attack-minded side that will commit bodies to attack. Only the big two have scored more goals than the Basque outfit this season, while Real Sociedad have found the back of the net in all but one of their away games in 2022/23.
With all that in mind, the way to go for Sunday’s blockbuster clash is backing both teams to score and over 2.5 goals.
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Teams: Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad
Location: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
Time: Sunday 29 January 2023, 3:00 PM, EDT
How to Watch: ESPN+
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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