Real Sociedad will look to better their European prospects along with winning the bragging rights when they host local rivals, Athletic Bilbao, in the Basque derby at the Anoeta Stadium in the La Liga on Sunday.
Real Sociedad Match Form
La Real are languishing at a similar position to last season, sitting in 8th place compared to 9th. They have 34 points from 22 games, same as Villarreal above them and 2 less than Atletico Madrid in 6th, the final European spot.
Imanol Alguacil will only be looking up and would want his side to rediscover their early-season form soon and give themselves a great chance of playing in Europe next season. However, it is easier said than done and the gaffer will hope his side are ready for handling the derby pressure as well.
After losing 2-1 to struggling Leganes in the last league game, with Alexander Isak getting onto the score sheet, Alguacil will be demanding a better performance from his side.
Athletic Bilbao Match Form
Coming to their opponents, Athletic Bilbao find themselves in a position lower than last season, sitting in 9th place. With 31 points from 22 games, Los Leones are 3 points behind their opponents while Granada are just a point behind.
While a European spot is definitely possible, Gaizka Garitano’s men will need to improve their performances to even have a chance. However, form usually goes out of the window in derbies and the gaffer will hope his side can rediscover their rhythm by winning the derby.
After losing 2-0 to high-flying Getafe in the last league game, Bilbao will look to lift their game for this one.
In terms of team news, Sociedad will miss Diego Llorente, Asier Illarramendi David Zurutuza and Miguel Angel Moya due to injuries. Meanwhile, the visitors have Inigo Martinez ruled out due to suspension while Oscar de Marcos is out injured.
Last Meetings & Betting Tips
Looking at head-to-head, Bilbao lead with 59 wins compared to Sociedad’s 49 in 145 league meetings with 37 draws between the two. In fact, Los Leones did win the most recent meeting 2-0 with goals from Inaki Williams and Raul Garcia.
However, Sociedad have won 3 of the last 5 clashes and have lost just once in their last 7 meetings at this ground. In those games, they have scored 10 goals and conceded just 5.
Further, recent form shows both sides are struggling to various degrees. While the home side have won 2 of their last 5 in the league, they did lose the other 3. In the same period, Bilbao have failed to win a single game but are unbeaten in 4 of them.
Thus, neither side is in great form heading into the Basque derby and both teams can be expected to share the spoils at the end of 90 minutes.
Real Sociedad Predicted XI: Remiro; Zaldua, Elustondo, Le Normand, Monreal; Zubeldia; Januzaj, Guevara, Sangalli, Portu; Isak, Braithwaite
Athletic Bilbao Predicted XI: Simon; Lekue, Alvarez, Nunez, Berchiche; D.Garcia, Lopez; Williams, R.Garcia, Muniain; Villalibre