The preview of
Real Sociedad-Sevilla FC on the fourteenth LaLiga EA Sports matchday which will kick off at 16:15 at the Reale Arena.
The home side begin the day in sixth place on 22 points with six wins, four draws and three defeats while we head into the match in fourteenth place with two wins, although having played a game fewer following the Atlético de Madrid postponement.
Atlético de Madrid 2-1 Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad 1-0 RCD Mallorca
Rayo Vallecano 2-2 Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad 0-1 FC Barcelona
UD Almería 1-3 Real Sociedad
The last three Real Sociedad-Sevilla FC matches
20/21: Real Sociedad 1-2 Sevilla FC
21/22 Real Sociedad 0-0 Sevilla FC
22/23 Real Sociedad 2-1 Sevilla FC
Nyland, Marcao, Lamela and Suso are ruled out through injury, while Gudelj is suspended. The full squad list is as follows: Dmitrovic, Alberto Flores, Jesús Navas, Juanlu, Sergio Ramos, Badé, Gattoni, Nianzou, Kike Salas, Acuña, Pedrosa, Soumaré, Fernando, Sow, Jordán, Rakitic, Óliver Torres, Ocampos, Januzaj, Lukebakio, Mariano, En-Nesyri and Rafa Mir.
Ortiz Arias will be the match referee while Del Cerro Grande is on VAR duty.
Alexandra Johnson, Freelance LaLiga Reporter
What is the fans’ general assessment of the season so far?
To put it simply the Real Sociedad fans are currently living their dream. Considering that their team has taken all of Europe by storm with their performances in the Champions League and the magic nights they’ve had at Anoeta it’s hard to imagine that the La Real fans are anything but extremely happy with their season so far. With that said, they would likely have liked to have gotten more points in the league. The overall feeling though is that the team has been great and performed both in the league and the Champions League, however in the league they’ve been a bit unlucky at times and unable to kill off matches. So, there is definitely also a wish to see that improve in the league, but overall I’d say the Real Sociedad fans are extremely happy with what they are experiencing this season and are over the moon really.
What style of play does the team have under Imanol Alguacil?
They start out playing a quite offensive 4-3-3 formation but with quite a lot of movement. Brais Méndez is quite attacking from his midfield position for example, while Ander Barrenetxea when needed can drop down a bit when they defend making it more of a 4-4-2. It’s a team that comes out playing with a lot of intensity, especially at the start of the match, not letting their opponent breathe. And it has also resulted in them scoring a lot of early goals this season. They do like to keep the ball, have the possession if they can, and when they are not on the ball they work extremely hard to get it back as quick as possible. If there is anything that characterises Imanol’s side it’s work ethic. Both in training and in matches he expects his players to give 100% 100% of the time, there is no slacking off allowed. And you really see that in their games and how they play.
Will they have half an eye on Wednesday's UCL match as they look to secure first place in the group?
I don’t think they will rest any players. They will want to win against Salzburg, they will go for that first place in the group, but at this point, the league is more important. They’ve already secured qualification in the Champions League while where they’ve had problems this season is the league. Their goal is to take a CL spot again and that is getting more and more difficult. If there is any priority this week it will be the league. So, expect the best possible line-up, though Mikel Oyarzabal even if in the squad might start on the bench against Sevilla to be on the safe side, but other than that I think Imanol will play his best eleven
How significant is the absence of talisman Mikel Oyarzabal after his injury on international duty?
He is, a bit surprisingly, in the squad. But like I said not sure if he can start. Though not having him is a huge absence for La Real. He is not a striker, but he has been La Real’s top scorer this season. If there is something they’ve been lacking is that they haven’t got any striker going, but Oyarzabal has stepped in there and solved that problem. Losing him would be a huge absence for them but more so I think in the long run if he was out for a longer period of time. In one game or two I think they’d be able to sort it, they have so many players at the moment playing their best football. So it’s a worry if he can’t play, yes, but it’s not the end of the world.
Who players are the biggest threats we will need to look out for?
I think if you want to stop Real Sociedad, first of all you have to stop Martin Zubimendi. If you can take him out of the game, which isn’t easy, then Real Sociedad will struggle. At the same time, you can’t put too many players on him because next to him is Mikel Merino who is having the best season of his career. So that’s definitely players to look out for. Attacking-wise, I think all of LaLiga have been talking about Take Kubo who’s really had his big breakthrough this season, but more than him Barrenetxea has stepped up as well and is also having a breakthrough season as well. In defence it’s Igor Zubelida, who in my opinion has been better than Robin Le Normand and should be considered as one of the best center-backs in Spain this season. To beat Real Sociedad you’ve got to stop the midfield, make sure the creative guys on the wings Take and Barrene don’t get too much to work with, then find a way to break through that defence and lastly, you’ve got to get past Alex Remiro who is another player who is having the season of his life. It’s not an easy task for any team. The best shot is probably just do your best not to let in a goal, then try to score in the last minutes of the games because that’s been their weakness this season, the last minutes.