Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad: Copa del Rey quarter-final - preview, team news, confirmed line-ups
Real Madrid host Real Sociedad in the Bernabéu on 6 February with a place in the semi-finals of the 2019-20 Copa up for grabs. Kick-off is at 19:00 CET
Real Madrid are unbeaten in 21 games across all competitions and appear to be purring their way towards the Liga title as Barcelona’s board repeatedly hit the self-destruct button with their faces: the holders are barely clinging on and if Leo Messi suffers so much as an ingrowing toenail before May, Barça are going to struggle to retain their crown.
However, the hosts have an indifferent record in the domestic cup, largely due to the institutional obsession with Europe, winning the competition just three times in the last three decades (1992–93, 2010–11, 2013–14). It remains the only major trophy to elude Zinedine Zidane as a player and a manager and superstitious Madrid fans will be pleased to note that the last time Real Sociedad stood in the way at this stage of the competition was during that triumphant 1992-93 campaign, when the Basques were soundly beaten 4-0 at the Bernabéu. A rousing 4-1 victory in Anoeta almost turned the tide but there will be no return leg on this occasion. In fact, Madrid have never lost to La Real in three fixtures in the quarters of the Copa and hold a 6-3 record overall in the competition, with Sociedad’s last win that same game.
Sociedad did the Liga double over Madrid last season, an achievement that will forever carry a Julen Lopetegui/Santiago Solari-shaped asterisk against any side that fired into a barrel of already stationary fish, and a more accurate reflection of where the sides are at the moment is Madrid’s 3-1 Liga win in November.
More recently, the home side have won their last eight in all competitions, while Sociedad have suffered a setback after losing three of their last four in the league against Villarreal, Betis and Leganés.
Player to watch: Martin Odegaard
All eyes will be on the Real Madrid loanee at the Bernabéu, with the visitors looking to the Norwegian to inspire them to the semi-finals and home fans watching with interest a player who could well be doing the same for them next season.
Odegaard has been in sensational form for Sociedad since moving there on loan last summer, scoring five and laying on eight assists for the txuri-urdin and throwing in a man of the match performance against Osasuna in the previous round. He was rested at the weekend with an eye on this evening’s match.
Madrid will also want to keep a close watch on Alexander Isak, who has bagged five in four Copa games this season and found the net in Sociedad’s last two Liga outings to take his tally to five in his last four games in all competitions. The 20-year-old Swede has started Sociedad’s last three Copa games.
Real Madrid confirmed XI vs Real Sociedad:
Areola; Nacho, Ramos, Militão, Marcelo; Valverde, Kroos, James; Brahim, Benzema, Vinicius
Real Sociedad confirmed XI vs Real Madrid
Remiro, Gorosabel, Aritz Elustondo, Le Normand, Monreal, Zubeldia, Merino, Odegaard, Januzaj, Oyarzabal, Isak
Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad: injuries and suspensions
Real Madrid manager Zidane will ring the changes for the Copa with the likes of James Rodríguez, Luka Jovic, Isco, Nacho, Alphonse Areola and Rodrygo coming into contention. The Frenchman won’t take too many chances though with Fede Valverde and Toni Kroos likely to add some steel to the midfield, with one of James or Isco there for a creative spark. Luka Jovic will be handed the chance to put a miserable season so far to bed with Karim Benzema in reserve.
Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale, Dani Carvajal, Casemiro, Lucas Vázquez, Marco Asensio and Mariano all miss out through injury or tactical decisión.
Sociedad boss Imanol Alguacil will field as strong a side as he can with a Copa final appearance La Real’s best chance of a route into Europe given the strength of competition for the Europa League places domestically this season. He will be without former Real midfielder Asier Illarramendi, which is a considerable blow, along with another Castilla graduate, Diego Llorente and bustling midfielder David Zurutuza. Ander Barrenetxea and Willian José add some inetesting options in terms of firepower if required while Adnan Janujaz is in decent form.
Real Madrid vs Real Sociedad: AS English predictions
Robbie: 3-1 to Real Madrid
Andy: 2-1 to Real Madrid
Rob: 1-2 to Real Sociedad
Will: 2-1 to Real Madrid
Cal: 3-1 to Real Madrid