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Aug 28, 2021 at 6.30pm UK
Real SociedadReal Sociedad
1-0
LevanteLevante
FT(HT: 1-0)

Cantero (18')

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

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

Having both had mixed starts to the new campaign, Real Sociedad and Levante will do battle on Saturday in the third round of La Liga fixtures.

The hosts earned their first win of the season last time out after an opening defeat, while their visitors have drawn both games, and a victory for either would signify an impressive points tally from the opening three matches.


Match preview

A strong second half of last season saw Real Sociedad achieve a commendable fifth-placed finish in La Liga, while also defeating Athletic Bilbao to win the delayed 2019-20 Copa del Rey final, meaning they head into the new season with plenty of optimism having secured a piece of silverware and European football for the new term.

They were handed a tough start though, travelling to take on Barcelona, and Imanol Alguacil's men were unable to cause an upset.

An early Gerard Pique goal and a Martin Braithwaite brace appeared to put the game out of sight, but late finishes from Julen Lobete and Mikel Oyarzabal gave the visitors a chance before their hopes were dashed as Sergi Roberto got on the scoresheet in injury time to condemn Los Txuri-Urdin to a 4-2 defeat.

Alguacil's men quickly bounced back though, as Oyarzabal converted a 68th-minute penalty to fire them to a 1-0 home win over Rayo Vallecano last time out.

Having impressed against Barcelona before opening their account for the season, Alguacil's men will come into Saturday's game with a degree of confidence, although they face another tough test as Levante arrive in search of their first win of the campaign.

Levante also impressed for large portions of last season, maintaining a spot in the top half for the majority before a poor end to the campaign eventually saw them fall to a somewhat underwhelming 14th-placed finish.

Hoping for a stronger showing this time around, Paco Lopez's men started with a trip to Cadiz, and they looked set to leave with a 1-0 win thanks to Jose Luis Morales's goal, only for Alfonso Espino to find the net in the 97th minute, seeing the hosts snatch a point as a result.

They then faced the tough task of a clash with title-chasing Real Madrid, and while Gareth Bale gave Los Blancos an early lead, Roger Marti and Jose Campana found the net to put Levante ahead on the hour mark, before Vinicius Junior levelled the game at 2-2.

Lopez's men again took the lead through Rober Pier with 10 minutes to go, but Vinicius netted his second of the game in the 85th minute to see the sides share the points after a dramatic affair.

While they will have been disappointed not to have held on for an impressive victory, Levante will still take positives from a draw with last season's second-placed side, and they will now go in search of a first league win of the season.

Real Sociedad La Liga form:
  • L
  • W

Levante La Liga form:
  • D
  • D

Team News

Real Sociedad come in with several injury concerns, as defenders Nacho Monreal and Diego Rico and goalkeeper Mat Ryan are all out of action.

Midfielders Asier Illarramendi and Carlos Fernandez will also miss out, meaning Martin Zubimendi should again be the anchor behind the dangerous pairing of David Silva and Mikel Merino.

The line will be led by Alexander Isak, who caught eyes for Sweden at Euro 2020 after hitting 17 La Liga goals for Los Txuri-Urdin last season, and he will be supported by the threat of Mikel Oyarzabal, who has already netted two league goals this campaign.

Levante also have plenty of issues to deal with, as Sergio Postigo, Alex Blesa, Dani Gomez and Roberto Soldado are all out through injury.

Lopez's problems have been made worse by the suspension of first-choice goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez, who was shown a red card in the dying minutes of the draw with Real Madrid as he raced out of his box to make a tackle.

In his absence, Dani Cardenas will start between the sticks, while Ruben Vezo can return to the back four after briefly deputising in goal when Levante were unable to make any further substitutions following Fernandez's sending off.

Jose Luis Morales and Roger Marti form a threatening attacking line, while Jose Campana and Jorge de Frutos will operate on the flanks.

Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Remiro; Gorosabel, Elustondo, Normand, Munoz; Zubimendi; Oyarzabal, Merino, Silva, Barrentxea; Isak

Levante possible starting lineup:
Cardenas; Miramon, Vezo, Pier, Clerc; De Frutos, Melero, Radoja, Campana; Morales, Marti


We say: Real Sociedad 2-1 Levante

While this could certainly go either way, we think La Real boast the slightly stronger of the two squads, and will look to come out of what is bound to be an end-to-end affair with three points.

Although they looked concerning at the back against Barcelona, Alguacil's men quickly improved last time out, and we give them the slight edge on Saturday as both sides look for an important win to cap off the opening stretch of the season in style.



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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La Liga Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Madrid4310136710
2Valencia431092710
3Atletico MadridAtletico431074310
4Real Sociedad43016429
5Athletic Bilbao42204138
6Sevilla32105147
7Barcelona32107437
8Mallorca42113307
9Real Betis41214405
10ElcheElche41212205
11Osasuna412146-25
12Rayo Vallecano41125504
13Villarreal30302203
14Levante403156-13
15Espanyol402213-22
16CadizCadiz402247-32
17Granada402227-52
18Celta Vigo401338-51
19Getafe400415-40
20AlavesAlaves300318-70
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