Los Rojiblancos and the Txuri Urdin both qualified for the top competition in European football with their performances last season and they’re among the favourites for a top-four finish this term.
The upcoming clash between Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad, who are fourth and fifth respectively in the standings, is an especially attractive La Liga match, one of the best duels you can see in European football right now. These are two Champions League teams who are once again among the favourites to finish in the top four in the Spanish fop flight, and they meet at the Estadio Metropolitano in a great moment of form.
Atleti are fourth in the standings, with a game in hand, and they’ve been very impressive to start the season. Alvaro Morata is in the hunt for the Pichichi trophy, having gotten off to a flyer with five goals, and he is supported in attack by the quality of Antoine Griezmann and Angel Correa. Diego Simeone’s side have won all three home matches so far, making their stadium a fortress. In their last game, Atletico Madrid came from 2-0 down to beat Cadiz 3-2, so morale is high for Los Rojiblancos.
However, it’d be difficult to beat the euphoria Real Sociedad are feeling right now, after their 3-0 win over Athletic Club in the Basque Derby and after their 2-0 away victory against RB Salzburg in the Champions League on Tuesday. The team coached by Imanol Alguacil were far superior when they took on their neighbours from Bilbao, with last weekend’s win allowing them to leapfrog their rivals in the standings and sending a message to all La Liga clubs. If beating Real Sociedad was difficult last season, it might be even more so this year.
Takefusa Kubo has already scored five goals and is a hero for the fans in Donostia-San Sebastian, while Mikel Oyarzabal and Ander Barrenetxea follow him with three goals each. From the goal to the front line, there are top players everywhere, from Alex Remiro to Robin Le Normand to Martin Zubimendi to Brais Mendez… There is quality in every position for this team that is catching the eye in Spain and Europe.
Real Sociedad want to overcome an obstacle, though. They haven’t beaten Atletico Madrid away since 2013, when they still played at the Estadio Vicente Calderon. In other words, the Basque side still haven’t tasted victory at the Estadio Metropolitano. A goal from Xabi Prieto, with an assist from Griezmann, who was playing for La Real back then, gave the Donostia-San Sebastian side that win, but, since then, Los Blanquiazules have not managed to take three points from Madrid on their visits to Atleti.
The duel in the dugouts will also be interesting. Simeone is the opponent Imanol Alguacil has faced the most times and the head-to-head record is quite even. There have been five wins for the Argentine, three for the Spaniard and three draws in the 11 duels so far. They have different ways of understanding the game, with two styles that clash on the pitch but are equally effective, as shown by the fact that Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad are competing in the Champions League this year.
This, therefore, promises to be a great game, one of the best match-ups in La Liga, as two in-form sides who are close in the standings do battle. It’ll be fun as the likes of Kubo, Griezmann, Zubimendi, Jan Oblak and the other stars take to the pitch on Sunday at 16:15 CEST.
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