A poor start to the season has all but extinguished hopes of Real Madrid retaining their title as they sit a hefty sixteen points behind a Barcelona side that has won sixteen of seventeen.
Rumours aplenty over Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo’s futures have circulated and in the absence of the Champions League there is nowhere to hide at the moment for Madrid. Mourinho will hope his players can at least show some fighting spirit and play with more freedom in the new year.
Consistency has been lacking away from home in particular with Malaga inflicting Real’s fourth defeat of the season in the final game before the winter break. At the Bernabeu, however, there have been few problems and Madrid remain unbeaten. Iker Casillas and his defenders have conceded just five times in front of their home fans this campaign and last tasted defeat to any club other than Barcelona back in April 2011.
Pepe and Sergio Ramos are both suspended for Sunday though so we fancy Sociedad’s chances of finding the net particularly as Philippe Montanier’s side are unbeaten in their last eight including wins at Malaga and Valencia. Madrid also showed signs of vulnerability in their 2-2 draw at home to Espanyol in their last home game so we would not be backing the 1/5 (William Hill) on a home win although given Mourinho’s side’s consistency on home turf, neither would we be tempted by the 14/1 (Paddy Power) against an away win.
Both teams to score holds more appeal at odds of 4/5 (BlueSquare). Former Arsenal striker Carlos Vela has scored six in his last six league games and refreshed from the rest could be a good bet to score first at the rather large price of 20/1 with Betway.
Both Teams to Score (4/5 BlueSquare)
Carlos Vela To Score First (16/1 Sportingbet)