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La Liga 2019: Real Sociedad is a team to watch this season

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Feature
19 Aug 2019, 23:06 IST

Watford v Real Sociedad - Pre-Season Friendly
Watford v Real Sociedad - Pre-Season Friendly

Read Sociedad had an encouraging season last year, finishing the top half of the La Liga table. Their top goalscorers last season were Mikel Oyarzabal (13 goals, 2 assists), still only 22, and Willian Jose (11 goals, 5 assists) will be hoping continue their good from, especially since Sociedad have had a good transfer window this summer.

Mikel Oyarzabal (R) in Watford v Real Sociedad - Pre-Season Friendly
Mikel Oyarzabal (R) in Watford v Real Sociedad - Pre-Season Friendly

They've added to their young core with Alexander Isak joining from Borussia Dortmund, Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on loan and Alex Remiro joining on a free from Athletic Bilbao. Isak had a bright season on loan at Dutch side Willem II, scoring 13 goals and providing six assists. Odegaard had a breakthrough season last year with Dutch side, Vitesse. He scored 9 goals and assisted 12 in 35 appearances. He also completed 2.9 dribbles and 3.5 key passes per 90.

Alexander Isak
Alexander Isak

But even he isn't Sociedad's most important signing. Cristian Portu, who came from Girona, is a creative attacking midfielder with an eye for goal. Portu has scored 9 goals in 33 appearances last season, and 11 goals the season before. A combination of his creativity and Oyarzabal's goal scoring could be a great asset for the team.


Christian Portu (in red) in Real Madrid CF v Girona FC - La Liga
Christian Portu (in red) in Real Madrid CF v Girona FC - La Liga

Team set-up

Imanol Alguacil is likely to set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation as it can be easily transformed into a pressing 4-4-1-1. Miguel Angel Moya will be the No 1 keeper for next season -- he's a great shot-stopper, is experienced and can command his area very well. The back four will consist of Llorente, Aritz Elustondo, Aihen Munoz and Zaldua -- a defensive line that has great speed that can help Sociedad keep a high line without being opened up too often. Imanol also likes his teams to press high up, making it hard for teams to play the ball out of the back.

Asier Illarramendi and Igor Zubeldia will be deployed as the double pivot in front of the back four. Illarramendi will offer protection while Zubeldia will be the more creative of the two. Portu, though, will be the side's main creator when he sits in the hole between the opposition's midfield and defence. Oyarzabal and Odegaard will play on the wings, Jose will be the lone striker up top.

Real Sociedad's predicted XI
Real Sociedad's predicted XI
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With Portu, Illarramendi and Zubeldia, Sociedad will be looking to keep possession before bringing their wingers into play. Jose's physical presence and ability to hold the ball will be crucial to their attacking play. He will link up with Oyarzabal and Odegaard, both of whom can dribble and score.

Sociedad will be hoping to combine possession and pressing, and they have the talent and experience that makes them a team to watch this season.

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