When Real Sociedad hosts a hot Girona team in San Sebastian on Saturday afternoon, they will be looking to tighten their hold on a top four La Liga standing.
Girona is currently in seventh place, which would qualify them for the Europa Conference League knockout round. The home team is currently fourth, seven points clear of fifth placed Villarreal.
Real Sociedad are in fine form as they attempt to finish in the top four of the La Liga (LL) for the first time since the 2012/13 season. Sociedad are currently six points ahead of where they were at this point in 2021/22 thanks to a spectacular 2-0 victory against Real Madrid in the previous round. Sociedad have now won three and lost one of their past four league games. It is understandable that this has increased anticipation for Reale Arena to host Champions League matches the following year.
Their recent form improvement has been supported by strong defensive performances, as seen by the fact that during that unbeaten run, only one goal was allowed. That record will undoubtedly be put to the test here against Girona (G: 52), one of the league’s most productive attacking teams, who scored three goals in the previous head to head. On that occasion, the trio of goals were in vain as Sociedad’s five continued their unbeaten H2H streak to five meetings (W2, D3).
Girona has maintained their status as one of LL’s unexpected success stories. They recently defeated Real Madrid (4-2) and then defeated Sevilla (2-0) and Mallorca (2-1), just like their hosts. As a result, the visitors, who astonishingly finished sixth in La Liga 2 last season, have been able to keep onto their slim chances of earning a spot in the Europa Conference League playoff round.
In terms of this game, Girona has been far more successful at home than on the road, where they have frequently struggled. In their most recent journey, they only managed to win one of their nine away games (D3, L4), a 2-0 victory at Sevilla. When one additionally takes into account their unimpressive overall LL record this season against teams that are currently above them in the table (W1, D2, L6), it becomes slightly less likely that they will pick up their first consecutive away LL wins since March 2019.
Takefusa Kubo now holds the record for Sociedad’s most LL goal contributions (G8, A3) after scoring twice in his last two games. Taty Castellanos also holds the distinction for his squad, despite the fact that all of his contributions 13 goals from seven LL appearances have been goals.
Despite the fact that Real Sociedad haven’t played since defeating Real Madrid 2-0 on May 2, the home team will still be without Sadiq Umar and Martin Merquelanz because of fitness concerns.
Jon Pacheco is probably going to go into the back four for the Basque team this weekend because Igor Zubeldia is also unable to play due to the injury he sustained against Los Blancos.
Though Takefusa Kubo and Mikel Oyarzabal are expected to help Alexander Sortloth in the last third of the pitch, changes to the midfield or the attack seem doubtful.
For Girona, injured players Aleix Garcia, Borja Garcia, Toni Villa, Joel Roca, Yangel Herrera, and Ibrahima Kebe continue to miss games.
Valentin Castellanos, who has 13 league goals this season, might start up front for head coach Michel’s starting lineup, just as they did when they faced Mallorca the last time they played.
There shouldn’t be any changes to the wide area for Rodrigo Riquelme, and Arnau Martinez, who is in high demand, is expected to play on the right side of the defense.
Real Sociedad possible starting lineup
Remiro, Gorosabel, Pacheco, Le Normand, Munoz, Merino, Zubimendi, D Silva, Kubo, Sorloth and Oyarzabal.
Girona possible starting lineup
Gazzaniga, Martinez, Bueno, Espinosa, Gutierrez, Martin, Romeu, Reinier, Tsygankov, Castellanos and Riquelme.
We predict: Real Sociedad 1-1 Girona
Real Sociedad are in great shape to finish fourth in the standings and will be the favorites at home, but we were forced to settle for a scoreless draw due to Girona’s recent performance.