Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad
Real Madrid are not giving up their La Liga title without a fight. Despite their raft of injuries, the reigning champions had a perfect record in February as they remain hot on the heels of leaders Atletico and fierce rivals Barcelona.
However, Los Blancos will face their stiffest test in a long while as a resurgent Real Sociedad come for a visit.
La Real have been on a strong run of their own thanks to their red-hot Swedish striker, and they will be looking for another win to further solidify fifth place in the league.
Real getting results amid injuries
Zinedine Zidane has righted the ship at Real Madrid once again. After a rocky start to 2021, Real went on to win all five of their matches in the month of February, including all four league games.
Granted, they did not have the toughest schedule; all four of their opponents were in the bottom half of the table. But still, they deserve some credit for picking up results despite a host of injuries, especially to captain Sergio Ramos and top scorer Karim Benzema.
With Benzema out, Zidane opted to play out-of-favour midfielder Isco over the ineffective Mariano Diaz in their Champions League tie against Atalanta. Despite having a man advantage for over 70 minutes, though, Madrid had just four shots on target and needed a late Ferland Mendy goal to get the 1-0 win.
The most recent La Liga 2021 updates suggest that Benzema will be fit for the big derby against Atletico next week, but there is still a chance the French forward can return against Sociedad.
Meanwhile, the likes of Rodrygo, Fede Valverde and Marcelo have all returned to training and are expected to be back for the Sociedad match. Their return could allow Zidane to make changes to his side ahead of their derby clash with Atletico.
Swedish striker powering Sociedad win streak
Real Sociedad did not have a particularly good week as they were dumped out of the Europa League by Manchester United. After losing 4-0 at home, La Real could only manage a goalless draw in the second leg at Old Trafford as Mikel Oyarzabal missed a penalty.
But on the bright side for the Basques, they can now focus completely on the league, where they are unbeaten in their last five games and have won three in a row.
Alexander Isak has been a huge reason for Sociedad’s recent success. The 21-year-old Swede is one of the hottest strikers in Spain, scoring in each of his last six league outings. That includes his amazing three-goal performance in a 4-0 victory over Deportivo Alaves last time out to become the youngest Real Sociedad player to record a hat-trick in the 21st century.
Isak’s emergence has helped ease the pressure on Oyarzabal, who had been Sociedad’s main goalscoring threat early this season. The Spanish international has 10 league goals this season, second on the team behind Isak’s 12.
Isak and Oyarzabal only played the first half in midweek against United and should lead the attack for La Real against Madrid.
Midfielder Mikel Merino will be suspended, though, so Jon Guridi is likely to get the start alongside former Real midfielder Asier Illaramendi and David Silva, who were both rested on their trip to Manchester.
Real Madrid have thoroughly dominated Real Sociedad in their league meetings over the years. Los Blancos have won 17 of their last 22 matches, with La Real winning just three.
Although, two of those victories have come recently. They beat Real 2-0 at the Bernabeau in 2019 and won 3-1 at home later in the year. La Real also had a famous 4-3 win over Real in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey last season. Isak scored twice in that match, as did Real Madrid-owned midfielder Martin Odegaard and Merino.
La Real also held Real Madrid to a goalless draw in their first meeting this season.
|Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad||Real Sociedad Asian Handicap +0.50 @ 2.01|
|March 2, 04:00 (GMT+8)|
SBOTOP odds have Real Madrid installed as significant 1.90 favourites. Sociedad are priced at 3.80 to pull off an upset, with a draw at 3.55.
Benzema’s availability will make or break Real’s chances of victory in this match. While they have eked out results without him, it is clear that Real rely so heavily on the Frenchman to produce goalscoring chances.
If Benzema doesn’t play, Real will struggle to score against a good defence like Sociedad, who also have more goals in them with Isak and Oyarzabal. That is why I’m backing La Real on the Asian Handicap market to pick up at positive result from their visit to Madrid.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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