Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane travel north to beautiful San Sebastián in what could be a top-of-the-table clash at Anoeta on Sunday night.
It’s Real Madrid’s toughest test of the season so far on as they take on a Eusebio-led Real Sociedad side that can’t stop scoring to start LaLiga and the Europa League.
No fewer than three goals in their first four games, and four in a couple , is what Eusebio has brought to the table having been linked to the Barcelona job before Ernesto Valverde was appointed at the end of last season.
He has Real Sociedad playing some scintillating football and is getting goals from all over the field including a few from new signing, Diego Llorente at the back, along with a couple from Asier Illarramendi, who had never scored more than one in an entire season before.
But goals have been coming from the more usual suspects too and Willian José, Juanmi and Mikel Oyarzábal getting of the mark early too.
Zinedine Zidane’s season couldn’t have got off to a better start with victory over Manchester United in the European Super Cup and hammering Barcelona in the Spanish one. Since then, however, results have been mixed and injuries seem to be slowly but surely piling up.
Karim Benzema and Mateo Kovacic will both miss the bulk of two months while Jesús Vallejo trained inside in the side’s last season before the trip north to San Sebastian but Zidane confirmed that both those players will miss out on Sunday. Meanwhile, Marco Asensio should return to the side after sitting out the APOEL Nicosia game after an ingrown hair became infected.
Not injured, but not available through suspension, are Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo . Both players will return for the midweek game against Real Betis but if Real Madrid drop points against Real Sociedad, they might themselves looking up at Barcelona for a very long stretch this season, relying solely on Barcelona’s failures as opposed to being the masters of their own fate.
Zidane says that Dani Ceballos will play but has to be patient with the manager’s plan for him and Theo Hernandez has been training to play in place of Marcelo despite his debut in the league not going to plan against Levante even though he was deployed further forward on the left-hand side.
Real Madrid are also looking to beat Santos’ all-time scoring record and if they can manage to score on Sunday, it will be the 73rd game on the trot that they have found the back of the net. Interestingly, it was at Anoeta back in April 2016 that the streak began when Gareth Bale gave los Blancos a 1-0 lead.
Real Sociedad vs Real Madrid live online: potential line-ups
Real Sociedad XI: Rulli; Odriozola, Elustondo, Llorente, Kevin; Illarramendi, Prieto, Zurutuza; Juanmi, Januzaj, Willian José.
Coach: Eusebio Sacristán
Real Madrid XI: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Hernández; Casemiro, Modric, Isco; Vázquez, Bale, Asensio.
Coach: Zinedine Zidane