The Basque outfit from San Sebastian sit pretty at the top of the La Liga standings. And their position as leader is no fluke.
Real Sociedad are Lighting up La Liga
Real Sociedad the Real Deal
Although the full La Liga table is yet to shake out fully due to various teams with games in hand, Real Sociedad have proven to be a cut above the rest at this early stage. They currently have 11 points in their favour with three wins from their six games played. It represents a tally of ten goals scored. This includes three times the team have score three goals in a match. Most impressively is their strong defensive backline which has only conceded two goals – the fewest amount for a team with six games played. They have impressively kept four clean sheets in their six outings. This included a creditable 0-0 draw in their first home game against Champions Real Madrid.
The Philosophy of Real Sociedad
Last time out, Real Sociedad won convincingly away from home 3-0 at Real Betis. They clinically dispatched the Andalusians and their victory was underpinned by the hallmarks of their manager Imanol Aguacil. He preaches a 4-1-4-1 formation which is both rigid and well drilled. Their organization comes from last seasons’ solidity mixed with genius with their likes of Alexander Isak and Martin Odegaard pushing La Real to a sixth placed finish and Europa League football.
Silva Lining for Real Sociedad
As the Norwegian returned to Real Madrid, Real Sociedad found a ready made replacement in the magician that is David Silva. After a decade of success at Manchester City, the midfielder from Las Palmas returned to Spanish shores. It represented a notable coupe for the club. Although he is not at 100%, he has already shown enough glimpses of that vision, elegance and those defence splitting passes to give his team another dimension. Silva’s style fits perfectly into a team ethos which likes to patiently build from the back and take as many touches as possible to arrive in the final third of the pitch. They pick and chose their moments to cut through an opponent. Sometimes, they over do it but remain loyal to their cultured philosophy.
At the moment, it is reaping dividends. It is clear to see Real Sociedad are a finished article who like to boss games by taking the initiative with the ball being the protagonist. Patience is a virtue which has guided them to the top of the table, and deservingly so.
The Team’s All Star Cast
David Silva is the standout figure, yet this is no one-man-team. Spanish international Mikel Oyarzabal has been a consistent performer for his club for a while and his quality at left wing and as a striker make him their principal danger man. His great crossing ability allied with a goal scorers smell gives them an attacking edge. Willian José is another attacker who has performed well since his move from Las Palmas. He scored 11 goals last season along with Alexander Isak, who scored 16 goals.
Added to this is the team’s top scorer this season Cristian Portu with three goals. A very skillful and classy performer on his day. So too is Adnan Januzaj, who has improved notably since his time with Manchester United. The Belgium international scored a wonderful goal in his sides win against Real Betis, launching the ball into the roof of the net. He is a more mature and well rounded player nowadays. The statistics are further proof that Real Sociedad have an abundance of attacking options and goals in their ranks.
An Unsung Hero
However, one of the Real Sociedad’s standout performers goes under the radar. Mikel Merino is the side’s midfield general and is in some ways an underrated figure of Spanish football. He had a difficult spell in the Premier League and was unable to settle on Tyneside with Newcastle United. Yet, his return to La Liga has rejuvenated his career. In addition, he has been a consistent performer in his three years with the club with crucial interventions and goals – scoring a career best five during the 2019/20 season.
Growth Through a Cultured Approach
Real Sociedad are a team which have gradually grown in recent seasons. So they have matured into a well polished and entertaining side. They posses a mixture of defensive solidity with attacking flair. That blend of steel and silk has pushed them to European football where they commence their bid for glory in a group which includes Italian side Napoli. A tie not to be missed given both teams’ abilities in their ranks and desire to entertain.
The side from San Sebastian are in good shape and are primed for a successful season both at home and in Europe. Their star is shining as brightly as ever.
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