Real Sociedad end the final international break of the year top of La Liga and will fancy their chances of staying there. The Basque side have been sensational so far in 2021/22, note Marca, suffering just one defeat in 13 games and claiming 28 points from a possible 36. They’ve scored 19 goals and conceded just ten.
The men from San Sebastian haven’t been overly-reliant on a single goal-getter, either. Mikel Oyarzabal leads the way with six goals to his name, but both Alexander Isak and Aritz Elustondo have provided three each. Mikel Merino and Julen Lobete have both chipped in with two, while Adnan Januzaj, Alexander Sorloth and Ander Barrenetxea have also got one to their name.
They’ve been the top dogs in what’s officially the most competitive league in the world. La Liga’s top four are separated by just five points; after La Real come Real Madrid, Sevilla and last season’s champions Atletico Madrid.
This is tighter than any other of the big five European leagues. In the Bundesliga, ten points separate first-placed Bayern Munich and sixth-placed Bayer Leverkusen. In Ligue 1, league leaders Paris Saint-Germain are ten points clear of second-placed Lens. Nine points separate Premier League pace-setters Chelsea and sixth-placed Manchester United, while in Serie A joint-leaders Napoli and Milan are seven clear of third-placed Inter.
La Real welcome Valencia to San Sebastian on Sunday evening to begin the final stretch of the calendar year. They follow that up the next Thursday with a European fixture, when they take on Monaco in the south of France in the Europa League. Balancing both competitions will be no easy task, but one gets the feeling that this collection of players will relish the challenge.