La Liga’s Christmas break could not have come at a better time for Real Madrid. The mood at the Bernabeu was turning from sour to poisonous as the club’s poor run of league form continued with a 3-2 defeat at Malaga.
Real Sociedad will be the champions’ first opponents of 2013 today. Real Madrid are still unbeaten at home in the league this season, and by that measure should have no trouble winning. Seven wins in their last seven meetings with Sociedad also reinforces their favourites tag.
Odds of 19/100 on a Real Madrid win look a bit miserable though against a Sociedad side who, while Madrid’s stars have been stumbling and squabbling, have quietly built a platform to challenge for the European spots with a seven-match unbeaten run.
The sad truth for fans of Los Blancos is that having gone three games without a win in league and cup, odds of 21/2 against Real Sociedad chalking up their third win of the season at the Bernabeu or 6/1 for a draw look rather good.
Many punters might want to give Real Madrid the benefit of the doubt given the short off period.
Should Jose Mourinho want to offer some goodwill on the 12th day of Christmas then recalling Iker Casillas from the substitutes’ bench should go someway to reducing the ill feeling reported to be lingering in the dressing room.
Real Sociedad are known for their attacking style of play, with on-loan Arsenal forward Carlos Vela shining along with several young Spanish talents like composed central midfielder Ruben Pardo.
A positive approach from their opponents could suit Real Madrid, who relish the opportunity to launch breaks but have been frequently frustrated by defensive outfits this season.
Real Madrid to win a match with four goals or more looks a realistic betting option at 19/20, with four of Real’s eight home fixtures this season producing at least four strikes.
Those looking for value might want to speculate on the unlikely event of Real Sociedad getting a result in Madrid, however – an eventuality priced at 17/5.