Real Sociedad vs Athletic Club predictions and match preview for Sunday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for expert analysis, the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as these old Basque rivals meet again.
|Sunday 31st October 2021
|21:00 (local time)
Real Sociedad vs Athletic Club Preview
It’s Basque derby night this Sunday in LaLiga and it’s always a special occasion whenever Real Sociedad and Athletic Club meet. With the meetings last season played behind closed doors, sadly including the historic Copa del Rey Final between the clubs, this will feel extra special with fans from both clubs sure to make a lot of noise inside the Reale Arena.
Real Sociedad won that cup final and have only gone from strength to strength since then. They went 3 points clear at the top of LaLiga in midweek with a hard fought win in torrential rain at Balaidos. Second Half goals from Alexander Isak and Aritz Elustondo secured a seventh league win of the campaign for La Real and they’ve been pretty impressive at both ends of the pitch.
Defensively they’ve made steady improvements and have only let in 9 goals so far this term in LaLiga. Only Sevilla and Sunday’s opponents Athletic have conceded less. At the other end, they perhaps haven’t been creating quite as many chances as they did last season, but it feels as though they’ve been a bit more clinical and have learned how to better kill games off.
Athletic also appear to be heading in the right direction under Marcelino and they are capable of giving La Real a real run for their money here. They’ve not only got LaLiga’s best defensive record but have at times looked a lot more threatening going forward. Inaki Williams has been very impressive and his resurgence has been a big factor in their improvements after a slow end to last season from the forward.
Athletic created more xG than any other team in LaLiga in midweek and really should have left the RCDE Stadium with three points. Alex Berenguer was among those guilty of big misses in a 1-1 draw but overall Marcelino would have been impressed by how his team went away to an in-form side and largely dominated proceedings.
Head to Head
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 4 Real Sociedad Wins, 1 Athletic Win, 1 Draw.
- La Real have won 3 of the last 4 meetings including a 1-0 win in the 2020 Copa del Rey Final, played earlier this year.
- The sides drew 1-1 in LaLiga four days after that in Donsotia.
- Athletic haven’t beaten their neighbours since a 2-0 win at San Mames in August 2019.
Real Sociedad’s injury problems are easing slightly with only four definite absentees here in the shape of Jon Guridi and Diego Rico as well as long-term absentees Nacho Monreal and Carlos Fernandez. Mikel Oyarzabal will have a fitness test on Saturday but is doubtful.
Dani Vivian, Asier Villalibre and Oier Zarraga are out for Athletic due to injuries.
Predicted Real Sociedad Starting Lineup:
Remiro – Munoz, Le Normand, Elustondo, Zaldua – Merino, Zubimendi, Silva – Januzaj, Isak, Portu (4-3-3)
Predicted Athletic Club Starting Lineup:
Simon – Balenziaga, Martinez, Yeray, Lekue – Muniain, D. Garcia, Vencedor, Berenguer – R. Garcia, I. Williams (4-4-2)
Real Sociedad vs Athletic Club Predictions
Score Prediction: Real Sociedad 1-1 Athletic Club
It’s really tough to pick a winner here and it’s likely to be an evenly contested derby match as these often are. Real Sociedad may be topping the table and grabbing the headlines but Athletic’s resurgence is starting to feel very real under the guidance of one of the best coaches in Spain. The visitors have only lost once this season and they look capable of leaving with a point.