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Primera División

  • September 18, 2010
  • • 21:00
  • • Estadio Municipal de Anoeta, Donostia-San Sebastián
  • Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
  • • Attendance: 28880

La Liga Preview: Real Sociedad - Real Madrid

La Liga Preview: Real Sociedad - Real Madrid

Real have started the season surprisingly brightly, but they won’t harbour too many hopes of getting even a point against los Merengues at the weekend...

Wary Of The Danger

Only a mere five teams in La Primera Division have managed to pick up more than three points in their opening two matches, and of those five, two go head-to-head in San Sebastian on Saturday night as Real Sociedad meet Real Madrid.

The newly promoted outfit couldn’t have realistically hoped for a much better start to their Liga campaign. Faced with Villarreal on the opening day of the season they marched to a fine 1-0 home win and then followed that up with a 2-2 draw against Almeria last Monday, from which they will feel they should have claimed all three points. Madrid this Saturday, however, represent a great step up.

“They have not played with too much fluency this season, but they do not need to play well to score three or four goals,” Joseba Llorente warned to the media. “They are beautiful games. The crowd is eager, we have four points therefore we can enjoy the game a bit without too much pressure.”

Anoeta will be a sell-out for the fixture, and the visiting side can expect a red-hot welcome once again in San Sebastian, a venue that they have not visited since 2007, when they recorded a 2-1 victory en route to the title. With the home side in confident mood, Jose Mourinho’s men will not be given anything easily in a hostile atmosphere.

Some Team Will Pay

The beginning of Jose Mourinho’s reign at the Bernabeu has not been spectacular, though little about the Portuguese’s football often is. Placing a high tariff on victory, and only then concerning himself with style, Mourinho has guided Real Madrid to two wins in his first three competitive matches.

A scoreless draw away in Mallorca on the opening day of the Primera Division campaign had doubters whispering, but even though there were still clear deficiencies in los Blancos’ performance as they edged past Osasuna 1-0 last weekend, Madrid are starting to portray the hallmarks of the former Chelsea and Inter coach – winning ugly.

In midweek Ajax came calling to the Spanish capital on Champions League duty. After two stuttering league performances, Mourinho’s men looked far sharper against the Dutch powerhouse, creating many openings during a 2-0 victory. Though los Blancos were deficient in front of goal, ‘Mou’ doesn’t believe that will last.

“One day some poor team will pay for all these chances we missed,” he told the press. “We lacked efficiency, but we won because we dominated the game. The result could be higher, but at this stage the goals are not as important as in the knockouts.”

Though a great deal of money has been flashed by Madrid in recent summers, it’s often overlooked how young a squad they command, and after Iker Casillas explained in the media that los Merengues are “building for the future”, Mourinho described the midweek encounter as a match of “boys versus boys”.

If Mourinho’s kids are to become champions they first half to mature into men, and that means winning in intimidating venues such as Anoeta.



Joseba Llorente has indicated that he will probably sit out the encounter as a precautionary measure to protect a back injury. The striker has said he could feature if necessary, but he doesn’t believe it’s worth the risk.

The hosts have given little away ahead of this fixture as to their squad selection.

Probable Starting XI:
Bravo; Martinez, Gonzalez, Ansotegi, De La Bella; Aramburu, Rivas; Prieto, Zurutuza, Sutil; Tamudo

Real Madrid

All of the players involved in the midweek encounter with Ajax took to the training field on Thursday without any apparent problems, though Sergio Ramos continues to receive treatment.

Kaka, Ezequiel Garay and Fernando Gago are the longer term problems for Jose Mourinho to cope with at present.

Probable Starting XI:
Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo; Khedira, Oezil, Alonso; Ronaldo, Higuain, De Maria


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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
1Claudio BravoGoalkeeper
2Carlos Martínez DíezDefender
15Ion GorostolaDefender
3Mikel González MartínezDefender
24Alberto De la Bella Defender
19Diego RivasMidfielder
11Mikel Aranburu EizagirreMidfielder
17Zurutuza Midfielder
10Xabi PrietoMidfielder
27Antoine GriezmannStriker
20Raúl TamudoStriker
-Mikel LabakaDefender
5Markel BergaraMidfielder
4Gorka Gorka Elustondo UrkiolaMidfielder
9Imanol AgirretxeStriker
1Iker CasillasGoalkeeper
4Sergio RamosDefender
2Ricardo CarvalhoDefender
6Sami KhediraMidfielder
14Xabi AlonsoMidfielder
11Mesut ÖzilMidfielder
7Ángel Di MaríaMidfielder
7C. RonaldoStriker
9Gonzalo HiguaínStriker
25Jerzy DudekGoalkeeper
6Lassana DiarraMidfielder
25Esteban GraneroMidfielder
12Pedro LeónMidfielder
9Karim BenzemaStriker
Players to Watch
Claudio Bravo
Claudio Bravo
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 1
Games Goals YC RC
1 0 0 0
When playing Real Madrid, it’s essential that you have a goalkeeper in top form if you wish to stand a chance. In Claudio Bravo, the Basque club have a custodian in fine fettle, giving them at least some minor cause for optimism. The shot-stopper was in inspired touch against Almeria when called into action last Monday, and a similarly strong performance at the weekend will give Real at least some hope.
C. Ronaldo
C. Ronaldo
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
1 1 0 0
Cristiano Ronaldo has yet to score his first goal of the Jose Mourinho era, though the Portuguese coach has been quick to play down any worries over the form of the Portuguese attacker. Under Manuel Pellegrini last term, Ronaldo was close to unstoppable, but the former Manchester United man hasn’t really got going yet this season. He’s not regarded as one of the best players in the world for nothing, so expect him to explode into life soon.

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