Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad expected lineup and match prediction
Real Madrid face-off against Real Sociedad this Saturday in the latest La Liga match. Although on the surface this seems like a pretty standard fixture, there are many key points of intrigue to look out for.
The two players to look out for more than the others are Real Madrid's Gareth Bale and Real Sociedad's Martin Odegaard. Starting with Bale first, the Welshman has strained relationships with Real Madrid even further during the international break, so one can expect boos and jeers if he does get any game time tomorrow.
Bale was photographed celebrating Wales's qualification for the Euros next year with a flag that said "Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order" which caused a furore amongst the Spanish press and Madrid fans. Therefore, there is a chance that Zinedine Zidane may opt to keep the Welshman on the bench.
Nevertheless, Madrid will still boast a strong line-up and with Hazard's lucrative form with Belgium, it appears as though he may be approaching his peak form which will no doubt be timely for Los Blancos.
Real Madrid have struggled in La Liga over the last couple of years and the club is still to properly plug the void that Cristiano Ronaldo left when he moved to Juventus. However, they have started off the season well, only losing once and sit joint first with their bitter rivals, Barcelona.
Their opponents Real Sociedad have started brilliantly by their standards and sit just two points behind Madrid and Barcelona. They have positioned themselves, thus far, as genuine contenders for one of the Champions League spots, which would be an incredible achievement.
Of all of Sociedad's players, Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard has been their star man this season. After making a disappointing start at Madrid, and subsequently being sent off on loan, some pondered whether Odegaard was nothing more than hype.
However, this season has shown that the Norwegian youngster is much more than that and has shown that he will be one of the best players in the world one day. His exploits this season has seen him awarded the Player of the Month award for September.
With Odegaard technically being a Real Madrid player, it will be interesting to see how he is received by the Madrid fans. There has been some talk of Odegaard returning to Real Madrid again soon but for now, at least he will be their opponent.
He has been dealing with an injury over the last few weeks and although it appears that he has recovered from it, a place in the starting XI may be deemed too risky, therefore, one should assume that he will start on the bench.
It will be an interesting tie mainly due to the controversy surrounding Gareth Bale, the return of the in-form Martin Odegaard, and whether Hazard can continue his form with Belgium with Madrid.
(Real Madrid): Courtois, Marcelo, Ramos, Varane, Carvajal, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Rodrygo, Hazard, Benzema.
(Real Sociedad): Remiro, Zaldua, Le Normand, Llorente, Monreal, Zubeldia, Elustondo, Merino; Oyarzabal, Willian Jose, Portu.