Saturday, March 2, 2024

Prediction: Real Sociedad vs Alaves

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 11/20

Bookmaker: Betfair

Real Sociedad will aim to get back on track as they kick off their 2024 campaign with a La Liga clash against Alaves, a fellow Basque team, on Tuesday evening.

In their last league match before the winter break, Real Sociedad managed a goalless draw against Cadiz. Meanwhile, Alaves faced a 1-0 defeat against Real Madrid, the current leaders of the division, in their most recent outing.

Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad showcased their prowess in the first leg of the 2023/24 Champions League campaign by topping Group D ahead of Inter Milan. Their impressive display has earned them a spot in the last-16 stage of the tournament, where they are set to face Paris Saint-Germain. Additionally, their progress in the Copa del Rey was secured with a 1-0 victory over Andratx, with their next match against Malaga scheduled for the upcoming weekend.

In La Liga, their performances have been steady, though not extraordinary, with eight wins, seven draws, and three defeats from 18 matches. This record places them in sixth position in the table with 31 points. Sociedad trail Athletic Bilbao by four points in fifth place and Barcelona by seven points in fourth, making it likely that their ambition is to secure another Champions League qualification this season.

Despite not tasting defeat in the league since their 1-0 loss to Barcelona at the start of November, they’ve encountered draws in three of their last four league fixtures. Notably, their last two matches ended in goalless draws against Real Betis and Cadiz.

Team News

Real Sociedad will have to contend with the absence of four players due to injuries for their upcoming clash. Hamari Traore, Martin Merquelanz, Arsen Zakharyan, and Ander Barrenetxea are all unavailable for selection.

In the wake of their recent goalless draw against Cadiz, head coach Alguacil is anticipated to maintain consistency within the lineup, potentially fielding the same starting eleven for the upcoming match.

The attacking trio of Takefusa Kubo, Mikel Oyarzabal, and Umar Sadiq is expected to be retained, while Kieran Tierney, on loan from Arsenal, will likely secure another start at left-back for Imanol Alguacil’s side.

Alaves

Alaves experienced a 1-0 defeat at home against Real Madrid in their most recent match before the winter break, marking their third consecutive loss under manager Luis Garcia. The Blue and Whites earned their return to La Liga for the 2023/24 season via last season’s Segunda Division playoffs and are now striving to establish themselves in the top flight.

In this campaign, Alaves have won four, drawn four, and lost 10 of their 18 league fixtures, accumulating 16 points, which currently positions them in 16th place in La Liga standings. They are only three points away from the relegation zone.

Scoring goals has been a significant challenge for Garcia’s team this season. They rank as the joint-lowest goalscorers in La Liga, tied with Cadiz, having found the back of the net only 14 times this term.

Their recent history against Real Sociedad includes a 1-0 defeat in their previous La Liga involvement, in March 2022. On the other hand, they have managed to secure two victories in their last eight encounters with their Basque rivals.

Team News

Aleksandar Sedlar remains sidelined due to an extended knee injury, while Giuliano Simeone, on loan from Atletico Madrid, continues his absence as he recuperates from a serious ankle injury sustained during the preseason.

Ruben Duarte will miss the upcoming match after accumulating a pivotal yellow card in the team’s recent narrow defeat against Real Madrid.

As a result, Javi Lopez is anticipated to take Duarte’s place in the starting lineup. However, apart from this adjustment, there are unlikely to be further changes. Antonio Blanco and Jon Guridi are set to maintain their positions in the team, considering their positive performances against Real Madrid.

Conclusion

Both teams have had their struggles lately. Alaves’ solid defensive record suggests they might keep things tight against Real Sociedad but considering Sociedad’s quality, they might have enough to secure a victory despite their recent difficulties. Overall, it’ll likely to be a closely contested match.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 11/20

Bookmaker: Betfair

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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