Real Sociedad vs Athletic Club predictions and match preview for Saturday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for analysis, team news and predicted lineups ahead of this big Basque derby.
|Saturday 14th January 2023
Real Sociedad vs Athletic Club Preview
The Basque derby takes centre stage this weekend in LaLiga with the big two in this football mad region clashing in Donostia. To add to the spice, both sides are making strong pushes for European and potentially even Champions League qualification this season.
La Real currently occupy 3rd place and they have a 5 point cushion on Atleti in 5th heading into this matchday. Victory here and continued good form in the coming weeks would put them in a really strong position to go on and seal a place in next season’s UCL. They are also firm favourites to make the last eight in the Copa del Rey with Mallorca visiting next week and with a Europa League last 16 tie also on the horizon, there is so much for Real Sociedad fans to be excited about right now.
They are even starting to get a few of their long-term injury absentees back again. Mikel Oyarzabal featured off the bench in the 2-0 win at Almeria last time out while youngster Mohamed-Ali Cho is also nearing fitness so their attacking options will soon be significantly bolstered.
Athletic Club meanwhile could probably do with a bit more attacking inspiration and that’s despite boasting the league’s joint 3rd best goalscoring record. Most of their 24 goals did come during an early season flurry though and they’ve failed to score in 4 of their last 8 outings, including two 0-0 draws since the World Cup break.
The most striking thing about Athletic since the resumption has been the absence of Iker Muniain who has been left on the bench in successive matches. He was only introduced in the 63rd minute against a very cautious Osasuna side at San Mames last time out and for the all good work Ernesto Valverde has done so far in his latest spell in Bilbao, his current reluctance to pick Muniain is a bit hard to get your head around.
Team News & Possible Lineups
Possible XI: Remiro – Rico, Le Normand, Zubeldia, Elustondo – Zubimendi – Merino, Silva, Brais Mendez – Sorloth, Kubo (4-1-3-2)
Coach: Imanol Alguacil
Possible XI: Simon – Yuri, Yeray, Vivian, De Marcos – Vesga, Sancet, Dani Garcia – N. Williams, Guruzeta, I. Williams (4-3-3)
Coach: Ernesto Valverde
Score Prediction: Real Sociedad 1-0 Athletic Club
Following back-to-back goalless draws we probably shouldn’t expect anything too adventurous from Athletic in this game. Both sides do at times struggle to be clinical in the final third and the derby aspect of this one may also contribute to a tense, low-scoring affair but overall it’s the home team who look more capable of finding a breakthrough with a bit more spark to their midfield and attacking play.
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