The Spanish La Liga started last weekend and it was a familiar story as Barcelona and Real Madrid start their season with wins. They sit top of the table, even at this early stage and it would be a shock to see them drop from the top two positions. However, it may come as surprise to many, even with just one match played, to find Real Sociedad in third place. They have not been tipped to finish in the top four this season but will be looking to build on their 6th place finish of last season.
Their opponents on Friday night are Villarreal who continued to perform superbly in La Liga last season, finishing 5th and securing a place in the Europa League group stages. It remains to be seen how playing on Thursday nights impacts on their La Liga campaign.
Real Sociedad Form
Real Sociedad started the season with a good 3-2 win at Celta Vigo. Having gone 1-0 and 2-1 down during the game, Real Sociedad showed good fight to come back into the match and late goals from Juanmi and a Willian Jose were enough to seal the win. Including league fixtures from last season, Real Sociedad are now undefeated in their last 7 La Liga games, winning 4 and drawing 3. Scoring goals has been Real Sociedad’s strength and they have netted 14 times across those 7 games, averaging 2 goals per game. At home, they are undefeated in their last 5 league games.
Villarreal were disappointed to leave Levante with nothing to show for their efforts. Despite missing a couple of important players, the Yellow Submarine seemed set to pick up a point but conceded a goal in the 88th minute to lose the game. With two away matches to start the new La Liga season, Villarreal will hope they can at least pick up a point in this game. Villarreal will be looking towards their defence again this season, which conceded on average 0.79 goals per away match last season. This defence will be crucial against a Real Sociedad team who like to score goals.
Inigo Martinez should be fit to start in defence for Real Sociedad having missed the first game of the season. They will line up in a 4-3-3 formation and rely on Willian Jose and Carlos Vela to provide most of the attacking threat. Villarreal have an extensive injury list and key midfielder Roberto Soriano will miss this game. However, Cedric Bakambu and Samu Castillejo will return from suspension and should go straight into the starting XI.
Top Betting Tips
Real Sociedad come into this match with a little extra confidence following their opening day win but Villarreal have proven tough opponents in the past. In fact, Real Sociedad have defeated Villarreal only once in their last 11 meetings in all competitions. Therefore, the Villarreal double chance is tempting at 3/4 with Ladbrokes. However, with players out the Yellow Submarine will struggle to keep Real Sociedad at bay for 90 minutes and both teams to score is 19/20 at William Hill. Colombian striker Carlos Bacca failed to get on the score sheet last week and will be looking to get his first competitive goal for Villarreal. Bacca is 12/5 with Ladbrokes to score at any time.