This is, certifiably, a big occasion. First vs third, with a chance for Villarreal to put distance between them and Real Madrid in fourth. They’re missing a key player in David Silva, we’re missing a key player in Paco Alacer, so it’ll all come down to who steps up and fills the respective voids.
Moi Gomez has a knock, and in what I consider to be a major indictment on Samu Chukwueze and Take Kubo, both Estpuinan and Pedraza will be starting on the left side. Both men are good athletes and good going forward and defending so I’m curious to see how it works. Carlos Bacca remains the striker. He had good moments against Maccabi at the midweek but was out of his depth against Real Madrid in our last La Liga outing. Franking I expect this performance to look more like Madrid than Tel Aviv. Other than that, nothing really out of the ordinary for Emery’s men.
This lineup from Real Sociedad leaves a lot of offensive firepower on the bench, firepower we are likely to see in the second half. Portu, Januzaj, and Isak all started against AZ in the Europa League, as did Nacho Monreal. Three of those four also started in their last La Liga match against Cadiz. The fact that they don’t have the kind of cushion in Europe that Villarreal does is forcing them to rotate just a bit against us today, and it will be up to us to use that to our advantage.
As the match gets going, let us know what you think in the comments below.