Real Soceidad vs Real Madrid: Match Preview

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 02: Dani Ceballos
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 02: Dani Ceballos /

Real Madrid drew their first two games in La Liga. How can The Royal Whites maintain the four point gap between them and league leaders Barcelona?

After Barcelona’s win against Getafe yesterday, Real Madrid have to win the next match in order to keep the point gap from getting any wider. The opponent is Real Soceidad, they’ll be the hosts, and they are in form recently.

The clash in Anoeta has always been a difficult match for Los Blancos. Several Madrid players are injured, while others are suspended. Moreover, certain player(s) have been in bad form lately. This certainly looks like a complicated fixture for Zidane and his men.

Injuries & suspensions

First off, let’s take a look at who’s out and why:

  • Jesus Vallejo has been injured since about the start of the season. What’s comforting is that it seems nothing serious, more of a precautionary decision.
  • Karim Benzema was injured in his hamstring last time out in La Liga. The Frenchman will stay away from the pitch for about 4 weeks according to
  • Mateo Kovacic‘s injury in the adductor muscle means he’ll be out of service for the next two months. The Croatian international picked up that injury after playing only a handful of minutes against APOEL last Wednesday.
  • Toni Kroos is Madrid’s latest addition to the injuries list. However, no information is available on the nature of Kroos’s injury on Real’s official website.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo will serve his last ban tonight. The team missed him badly in the last two games in La Liga and are likely to miss him again against Soceidad. The importance of the Portuguese legend was immediately obvious against APOEL. Unfortunately, for now Zidane must find a way to compensate for Ronaldo’s abscence.
  • Marcelo will miss the game too. He was shown the red card last week against Levante. Frustratingly, the Spanish Federation has decided to ban the Brazilian for two games rather than one because of his “disipline”. This means Marcelo won’t be available against Betis too.

Possible Lineups

The defense is relatively stable. Theo should be able to fill Marcelo’s place, while Vallejo isn’t a starter to begin with. The midfield and attack is where Zidane might need to get creative.

Kroos’s absence isn’t a disaster considering the quality of Real’s bench. Kovacic isn’t available, but there is another gem in the name of Dani Ceballos that’s waiting to shine. The match against Soceidad can be a superb chance to allow the Spanish youngster to demonstrate his abilities. Isco and Asensio are seemingly better options. However, considering the problems in the front line, Zizou might need the latter two up front rather than in the middle.

The attack is where Zidane needs to pull  a hat out of a rabbit (I reversed it on purpose). Neither Ronaldo or Benzema are available, Mayoral isn’t ready, and on top of that, Bale has been in bad form in front of goal.

With this lack of finishers, fielding Vazquez doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. I’ve always praised the Spaniard for his exemplary Madridismo and work rate. He has proven he’s really good at feeding his teammates. Yet, I can’t deny that his finishing isn’t up to scratch. Asensio and Isco aren’t explicitly finishers either. Nonetheless, I can claim with certainty that they are bigger goal threats than Lucas. Depending on Mayoral in such a game would too much pressure on the lad. He’s better off playing as a substitute.

So in my opinion, the best XI for this game is as follows: Navas, Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Varane, Theo, Casemiro, Modric, Ceballos, Asensio, Bale, Isco.


The first formation is a traditional 4-3-3. The players should play it just as they would with all the starters available. During offense, the central defenders and Casemiro should take turns participating in creating box overloads while crossing.

Barring the defenders, Bale and Casemiro are the only players taller than 5’11”. Crossing has always been an integral part in Madrid’s offensive game (not that I am complaining) under Zidane, so height always comes in handy. Not to mention that I would definitely not mind the Captain scoring one of his infamous goals – whether that’s a header in stoppage time or an overhead kick.

The other formation is a fancy one. It has been bugging my mind now: why doesn’t Real try the Christmas tree formation? It seems to fit everyone of our starters. Bale plays centrally as he wants. Isco/Benzema roam the final third to create chances. All while Ronaldo plays in the centre (assuming he’s the tip of the “tree”). Even without Ronaldo and Benzema, this seems like a suitable formation given the available players.

Moreover, Marcelo and Carvajal still get that freedom to go up high to create width. The only con of such formation is that it will severely limit Kroos and Modric’s offensive output. However that can be easily solved by continuously exchanging positions between players, which of course adds a layer of unpredictability to an already-star studded team.

Stay tuned to The Real Champs for match coverage of theReal Sociedad vs Real Madrid match.