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