MX23RW : Thursday, January 16 07:07:43| >> :600:32446654:32446654:
Jan 6, 2019 at 5.30pm UK at ​Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (Madrid)
Attendance: 53,412
Real Madrid
Real Sociedad

Vazquez (61')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Jose (3' pen.), Pardo (83')

Preview: Real Madrid vs. Real Sociedad - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full match preview of Real Madrid's La Liga clash with Real Sociedad.

Real Madrid will attempt to return to winning ways in La Liga when they welcome struggling Real Sociedad to the Bernabeu on Sunday night.

Los Blancos were held to a 2-2 draw at Villarreal on Thursday, meaning that they will enter this weekend's round of fixtures still in fourth but now seven points off the pace being set by Barcelona.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid players celebrate scoring their second goal against Villarreal on January 3, 2019.© Reuters

The gap from fourth-placed Madrid to league leaders Barcelona is now seven points following the former's 2-2 draw with Villarreal on Thursday. A win over the Yellow Submarine would have placed Los Blancos in a decent spot, but Santi Cazorla scored a late equaliser for the struggling hosts to make it an unhappy night for Santiago Solari's side.

Madrid can, of course, still win the title this season, but they have dropped points in eight of their 17 league matches this term and it is extremely difficult to see the capital giants putting together the type of form required to catch and indeed move past Barcelona, who are three points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid.

Real have not won enough games nor scored enough goals in La Liga this season, managing just nine victories while scoring just 26 times in the process. Gareth Bale has struggled throughout the campaign and there is no question that the summer exit of Cristiano Ronaldo has hurt the European champions badly.

Los Blancos did manage to win a third straight Club World Cup in the latter stages of 2018, however, and are through to the latter stages of both the Copa del Rey and Champions League. It has been a far from disastrous first half to the season, although they do not look capable of making a serious challenge for the La Liga title.

It is a busy period for Madrid as they prepare to face four matches in 10 days. Indeed, they will take on Sociedad and Real Betis in La Liga, in addition to tackling Leganes in a two-legged Copa del Rey affair.

Solari's squad will be stretched when considering the club's injury list, but luckily the Champions League knockout stage does not start until next month, when the likes of Marcos Llorente and Marco Asensio should be back.

There is no question that the Madrid supporters will be looking for a response from their team this weekend, especially considering that the capital giants have won each of their last seven La Liga matches against Sociedad.

Recent form: WLWWWD
Recent form (all competitions): WLWWWD

Real Sociedad

Willian Jose in action for Real Sociedad on April 19, 2018© Reuters

Five wins, four draws and eight defeats - that is how Sociedad have performed in La Liga this season. A collection of 19 points from their 17 matches has left them in 15th position in the table, just three points outside of the relegation zone.

Asier Garitano was sacked as head coach of the Basque outfit following a poor first half of the season, with Imanol Alguacil now in charge of first-team affairs at the Spanish club.

Alguacil was previously in charge of Sociedad's first team between March 2018 and May 2018, before returning to his position with the club's B side. The 47-year-old actually won five of his nine matches in charge last year and Sociedad will be hoping that the Spaniard can galvanise the first team once again.

Sociedad finished fourth in Spain's top flight at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, while they managed sixth in 2016-17. Last season brought a disappointing 12th-place finish, however, and it seems a similar position could be on the cards this term.

That said, the Basque outfit are just three points off eighth-placed Valencia and a positive result at the Bernabeu this weekend would be the perfect start to 2019.

The omens are not exactly terrific, however, when considering that Sociedad - without a La Liga win since the end of November - have not beaten Madrid in a La Liga match since August 2014.

There is no question that Algucil has a talented squad to work with, though, and it would not be a surprise to see the club in the top half of the La Liga table over the next few weeks.

Recent form: WWLLLL
Recent form (all competitions): WLWLLL

Team News

Gareth Bale after scoring for Real Madrid against Kashima Antlers in FIFA Club World Cup on December 19, 2018.© Reuters

Real Madrid are expected to without the services of Bale after the Welshman had to be substituted during the 2-2 draw with Villarreal. The attacker appeared to pick up a calf problem in the latter stages of the first period and was replaced by Isco at the interval.

Asensio and Mariano Diaz remain on the sidelines, meaning that Solari has limited options in the final third of the field.

Isco could come into the attack alongside Karim Benzema and Lucas Vazquez, while Solari could decide to freshen his midfield with Dani Ceballos an option.

Marcos Llorente had impressed in Casemiro's absence, but the Spaniard picked up an injury during training ahead of the Villarreal clash.

As for Sociedad, Kevin Rodrigues, Andoni Gorosabel and Martin Merquelanz remain on the sidelines through injury, while Theo Hernandez cannot play against his parent club.

Willian Jose and Mikel Oyarzabal should both start for the visitors, however, while there is also expected to be a position in the XI for former Manchester United youngster Adnan Januzaj.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Ceballos; Isco, Benzema, Vazquez

Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Moya; Aritz, D Llorente, Moreno, Munoz; Oyarzabal, Zurutuza, Illarramendi, Januzaj; Juanmi, Willian Jose

Head To Head

Real Madrid have won each of the last seven La Liga meetings between the two teams, including a 5-2 victory in the corresponding clash at the Bernabeu last season.

Sociedad have not actually beaten Real Madrid in a La Liga match since a 4-2 home win in August 2014, while there has not been a draw in this particular fixture since May 2013.

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We say: Real Madrid 2-0 Real Sociedad

Real Madrid were disappointing against Villarreal on Thursday night, but we expect the European champions to return to winning ways on home soil due to Sociedad's poor form.

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Who will win Sunday's affair at the Bernabeu?

Real Madrid
Real Sociedad
Real Madrid
Real Sociedad
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Gareth Bale after scoring for Real Madrid against Kashima Antlers in FIFA Club World Cup on December 19, 2018.
Read Next:
How Real Madrid could line up against Villarreal
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