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What’s so special about the Real Sociedad players right now?

Eduard Bănulescu

At the time of writing Real Sociedad has the world at its feet. The team sits top of the table in La Liga. They’ve proven themselves in the Europa League. And, the team consistently serves up exciting performances. Just what is it with this set of Real Sociedad players that has helped the club scale these heights. Let’s take a look at Imanol Alguacil’s tactics and players’ stats for answers.

Real Sociedad’s Copa del Rey win was no fluke

After a 33-year wait, Real Sociedad won a major trophy, Copa del Rey. Their match against Athletic Bilbao had long been postponed due to the pandemic. They ended up earning a scrappy 1-0 victory over their rivals. However, this went beyond a mere trophy. This was confirmation that the club’s direction for the past few years had been the correct one.

Real Sociedad enjoyed its greatest period of success during the 1980s. They won the Primera Division for the first time in 1981, and their last the year after. In recent years, the club has built a squad of players that they believe can, once again, battle among the best. This is proving to be true.

Real Sociedad balanced squad of players

Sociedad is one of the most beloved clubs in Spain. Many neutral fans look with admiration at this change of fortunes. This is not least of all because of the mix of players that the squad includes.

Bringing a proven winner like David Silva at the start of last season had the desired effect. It helped breed a culture of success for the club. However, Imanol Alguacil’s willingness to give chances to youngsters has really turned Sociedad into one of the most exciting teams in Spain. Mikel Oyarzabal, Adnan Janujaz, and, especially Alexander Isak are among the most scouted players in Europe at the moment.

Imanol Alguacil’s balanced and modern tactics

Real Sociedad is a team that can battle against the likes of FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, or Real Madrid because they choose to bravely face these teams. Imanol Alguacil has experimented with various tactics, learning and improving along the way, and building a disciplined, offensive side.

During the 2020/21 season, Imanol Alguacil has leaned towards a modern 4-2-3-1 formation. The tactic is characterized by the wingers’ tendency to tuck in for an inside forward role, the wing-backs’ attacking prowess, and the tough, but technical defensive-midfielder duo. These tactics have helped keep Real Sociedad unbeaten this season.

Oyarzabal, Merino, Isak are among La Liga’s best players

Then there is simply the matter of the quality of Real Sociedad’s group of players. The team’s success has been in the works for a while. Last season they lead the league for a significant amount of time. Players like Mikel Oyazabal and Alexander Isak have also gained international experience at Euro 2020 further helping their confidence. These two, along with players like David Silva or Mikel Merino are, without a doubt, of a world-class standard. Sociedad approach matches against their top La Liga rivals with confidence.

Oyarzabal, in particular, has staked his claim as one of the world’s top strikers. He has scored 6 goals in 8 matches this season. He has a npxG of 0.27 per match, among the very best strikers. His high level of technique is also matched by an excellent work rate, contributing defensively to a great extent.

Robin Le Normand is another player that perfectly encapsulates Real Sociedad‘s spirit. The player is among the very best in Europe for aerial duels. Le Normand is also capable of delivering incisive, vital passes that help his teammates find the avenues to attack.

Then, there’s the matter of flair. Alexander Isak is still growing as a player, sure. However, his attempted dribbles and ability to find himself consistently in dangerous positions offer the team an air of unpredictability that opposing teams struggle to respond to. And, let’s not forget David Silva, who at 35 years of age is still one of the best players in Europe in terms of expected assists, progressive passes, dribbles, etc.

Real Sociedad, title contenders?

Time will tell just how far Real Socided can travel in their pursuit of glory. One thing though is for sure. With patience and sensible planning, Imanol Alguacil and the club have built a highly entertaining, powerful squad.

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