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Sep 26, 2021 at 5.30pm UK
Real SociedadReal Sociedad
Oyarzabal (81')
Portu (76')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Casilla (58'), Mojica (63'), Mascarell (64')

Preview: Real Sociedad vs. Elche - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Real Sociedad vs. Elche - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's La Liga clash between Real Sociedad and Elche, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Real Sociedad will be looking to continue their strong start to the 2021-22 La Liga season when they welcome Elche to San Sebastian on Sunday evening.

The home side have collected 13 points from their opening six matches of the campaign to occupy third in the table, while Elche sit 15th with six points to show from as many games this term.

Match preview

Real Sociedad enjoyed an impressive 2020-21 campaign, picking up 62 points from their 38 matches to finish fifth, securing a spot in the group stages of the Europa League in the process, and the early indications are that the Basque outfit are capable of pushing high up the league table once again this term.

Indeed, a record of four wins, one draw and one defeat from six matches has seen the Blue and Whites collect 13 points, leaving them third in the table, one point off second-placed Atletico Madrid and three behind leaders Real Madrid, who have been the standout team in the division thus far in 2021-22.

Real Sociedad are actually on a six-game unbeaten run in all competitions, with their only loss of the season coming away to Barcelona on August 15. Since then, they have gone unbeaten across five league fixtures, in addition to drawing 2-2 with PSV Eindhoven in their opening Europa League group-stage fixture.

Imanol Alguacil's side will enter this match off the back of a 3-2 victory over Granada on Thursday night, and it was a thriller at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes, with Aritz Elustondo's second of the match in the 82nd minute ultimately proving to be the difference between the two sides.

The two-time Spanish champions will be looking to record a third straight league victory over Elche, having been victorious in both meetings between the two sides last term by an aggregate score of 5-0.

Elche, meanwhile, have picked up six points from their opening six matches of the 2021-22 La Liga season to sit 15th in the table, three points outside of the relegation zone.

Fran Escriba's side went unbeaten across three matches against Sevilla, Getafe and Levante between August 28 and September 18, picking up five points in the process, but they were on the end of a 4-1 defeat at Villarreal on Wednesday night.

Elche managed to recover from an early setback against the Yellow Submarine to level the scores in the 19th minute through Johan Mojica, but the home side then scored three unanswered goals to triumph.

Los Franjiverdes finished 17th in La Liga last term on their return to the top flight, and it would not be a surprise if they spent the majority of this season in and around the relegation zone.

There have been encouraging signs in the early weeks of the campaign, though, and Elche will be hoping that their extra day of rest ahead of this match, in addition to the home side's injury problems, will prove decisive on Sunday evening.

Real Sociedad La Liga form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Real Sociedad form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W

Elche La Liga form:
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L

Team News

Real Sociedad have the worst injury list in Spain's top flight at the moment, with Alexander Isak, Carlos Fernandez, Nacho Monreal, Jon Guridi, Diego Rico, David Silva, Asier Illarramendi, Ander Barrenetxea and Jon Pacheco all ruled out of this contest.

The Basque outfit did not pick up any fresh problems against Granada, though, and it would not be a surprise to see the same starting XI take to the field.

Mikel Oyarzabal, who continues to be linked with a move away from the club, should feature alongside Portu and Alexander Sorloth in the final third, with Robert Navarro operating in a deeper area.

As for Elche, Pedro Bigas and Jony Alamo will miss the contest through injury, while Lucas Boye is unlikely to be involved, as the forward battles a groin problem.

Head coach Escriba is expected to make changes from the side that started against Villarreal, with Raul Guti and Dario Benedetto in line for starting roles on Sunday evening.

Omar Mascarell and Javier Pastore are also pushing for spots in the XI, but Escriba is likely to resist the temptation to make wholesale alterations to his team here.

Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Zaldua, Elustondo, Le Normand, Munoz; Guevara, Merino, Navarro; Portu, Sorloth, Oyarzabal

Elche possible starting lineup:
Casilla; Verdu, Gonzalez, Roco; Palacios, Fidel, Guti, Mfulu, Mojica; Benedetto, Perez

We say: Real Sociedad 2-1 Elche

Real Sociedad are still missing a host of key players, meaning that their squad is seriously stretched at the moment, and Elche should be the fresher of the two teams, having played on Wednesday rather than Thursday. That said, we are still expecting an in-form Real Sociedad side to record a narrow victory.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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