Sports Mole previews Sunday’s La Liga clash between Real Sociedad and Osasuna, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
After suffering a 4-0 thrashing last weekend, Real Sociedad will look to reclaim a place in the top six of the La Liga table on Sunday, when they play host to Osasuna.
Imanol Alguacil‘s side have now dropped to seventh spot, while their visitors sit 10th after a defeat of their own last time out.
After an impressive first half to the season, Real Sociedad occupied a strong position in their pursuit of a top-six finish, sitting on 35 points from their opening 23 games.
La Real have had to battle through a tough week, though, first falling to a 4-0 thrashing in a crucial meeting with Athletic Bilbao.
The game was goalless until the hour mark, but Dani Vivian eventually opened the scoring for their Basque rivals before Oihan Sancet, Inaki Williams and Iker Muniain got on the scoresheet to condemn them to a heavy defeat.
Such a loss saw Alguacil’s men drop out of the top six, and they met RB Leipzig in the second leg of their Europa League playoff tie on Wednesday, losing 3-1 on home turf after a first-leg draw to drop out of the competition .
Having now suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since November, Alguacil’s men will look to correct their form with a victory that could see them jump back into the top six, given they only trail Villarreal by a single point.
Osasuna arrive looking to bounce back from a defeat of their own, having fallen short against a faltering Atletico Madrid side last time out.
Joao Felix had Los Colchoneros ahead inside the first five minutes and Luis Suarez and Angel Correa added goals in the second half to abruptly end the impressive form of Jagoba Arrasate‘s side.
Prior to that defeat, Los Rojillos had climbed into the top half with an impressive run of results, collecting 10 points from five league outings and most recently leapfrogging Rayo Vallecano with a 3-0 thrashing thanks to goals from Jon Moncayola, Ruben Garcia and Kike Garcia.
Having now dropped below Celta Viga into 10th spot and with just a one-point lead over Rayo Vallecano in 11th place, Arrasate’s men will know their place in the top half is at risk and will look to bounce back from last week’s disappointing defeat when they travel to the Basque country.
Real Sociedad La Liga form:
Real Sociedad form (all competitions):
Osasuna La Liga form:
Real Sociedad will again operate without winger Ander Barrenetxea and defender Nacho Monreal due to long-term injuries, while Diego Rico and Carlos Fernandez are also set to continue spells on the sidelines.
Alexander Isak should lead the line, despite having only netted four La Liga goals so far in a relatively slow season by his standards, while winger Mikel Oyarzabal has carried a lot more of the attacking responsibility, with eight goals and two assists to his name in the top flight.
Mikel Merino, Martin Zubimendi and David Silva should reform an accomplished midfield unit despite the heavy defeat to Athletic Bilbao the last time they played as a trio.
Osasuna’s only absentee should be defender Jesus Aresoafter Kike Barja‘s recovery from an injury.
Arrasate is unlikely to make many changes, with Ante Budimir again set to lead the line with support from Ruben Garcia.
In what could be the battle to watch, La Real’s midfield will square off against another strong unit, as Lucas Torro, Darko Brasanac and Jon Moncayola are all mainstays in the engine room for Los Rojillos.
Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Remiro; Gorosabel, Elustondo, Normand, Munoz; Zubimendi, Silva, Merino; Januzaj, Isak, Oyarzabal
Osasuna possible starting lineup:
Herrera; Vidal, Cruz, D Garcia, Sanchez; Moncayola, Torro, Brasanac; R Garcia, Budimir, Kike
We say: Real Sociedad 2-1 Osasuna
With two sides keen to bounce back from disappointing defeats, this should be a cagey encounter, and we back the hosts to scrape over the line.
La Real boast more quality than their visitors, and, with the chance to reclaim a top-six spot, Alguacil’s side should have what it takes to secure all three points.