After managing to win against Cordoba last weekend, thanks to a last gasp penalty from Gareth Bale, Real Madrid have the task of grabbing another three points as they host David Moyes’ Real Sociedad on Saturday. Los Blancos have the task of protecting their lead at the top and will have to manage without the prolific Cristiano Ronaldo on Saturday. Ronaldo will be serving the first of his two match suspension after he received a red card in the high intensity game against Cordoba. After being eliminated from the Copa Del Rey by Atletico Madrid, Ancelotti has to prove his worth by leading Real Madrid to a La Liga title this season and also do his best to defend their status as European champions. The game against Sociedad is the beginning of a testing phase in the league for The Whites as they will later face Sevilla and Atletico Madrid.
Real Sociedad will be coming into this game with an air of confidence having convincingly beaten Real Madrid at San Sebastian. However, after the 4-2 defeat in the reverse fixture a lot changed for Real Madrid as they went on to achieve a record 22-match winning streak. It will be tough for Real Sociedad to not concede three points at the Bernabeu. The silver lining however remains that the league’s top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo will not feature in the game. David Moyes has managed to garner some success since his arrival as Sociedad’s manager. The former Manchester United boss managed to beat Barcelona and now has the daunting task of facing Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Real Sociedad can be considered the giant killers this season as they are the only club in the league which has manager to beat the top three, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.
Team News and Tactics
The biggest problem Ancelotti will have to deal with is the absence of Balon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese will be serving the first of his two match suspension as Real Madrid host Real Sociedad. In the absence of the forward, the goal-scoring responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema. Ancelotti has confirmed that Bale will take Ronaldo’s position on the left wing while James Rodriguez will be deployed on the right. Despite the absence of Ronaldo, Real Madrid’s attack has enough fire to play the high tempo attacking football they usually do.
Isco looks set to return to the starting line-up after getting some much deserved rest last weekend. Isco will be partnered by Kroos and Illarramendi to complete midfield trio. Casillas will take his position between the sticks and doing their job in the back four will be Carvajal, Varane, Ramos and Marcelo. Apart from Ronaldo, only Pepe and Modric are unavailable for selection as they are both recovering from their injuries and are expected to return in February. Latest signing Lucas Silva is expected to make his debut in the white kit but will start the game on the bench and only get a few minutes to show his talent.
Probable Line-Up (4-3-3): Casillas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Illarramendi, Kroos, Isco; James Rodriguez, Benzema, Bale;
David Moyes showed that he is not as bad as he looked while managing Manchester United when he made a statement in the La Liga by beating Spanish giants Barcelona. Now Moyes is poised to face Real Madrid at the Bernabeu and his visit to the capital can be termed successful if he manages to come back with at least a point. Real Sociedad will have to defend well if they wish to get anything from this match. David Moyes is the right man to bring that out from his squad as since his arrival to Spain, the Basque outfit has managed to maintain six clean sheets in 13 matches.
Real Sociedad are expected to start the game with 22-year-old Argentine Geronimo Rulli taking his place between the sticks. The stopper has recently produced some exquisite performances, especially the one against Barcelona. Skipper Xabi Prieto is expected to lead the side from the midfield with former Real Madrid player Esteban Granero playing a deeper role, with Sergio Canales and Carlos Vela providing support from the wings for Imanol Agirretxe.
Probable Line-Up (4-2-3-1): Rulli; Elustondo, Gonzalez, Martinez, Yuri; Granero, Pardo; Vela, Prieto, Canales; Agirretxe;
Real Madrid 3-1 Real Sociedad
It is tough to contain Real Madrid at home where they have only lost one league game so far this season and Real Sociedad might not be able to do that. The firepower in the Real Madrid attack looks like it will prevail and Los Blancos will successfully manage to win the game by a comfortable margin.
Player To Watch Out For
Gareth Bale has been a victim of some criticism from the Real Madrid fans in recent times. However, the Welshman might have turned some of the opinions around when he grabbed the last minute winner against Cordoba last weekend. In the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale has the chance to grab the limelight and prove his doubters wrong.