Real Sociedad’s victory at Athletic Club last week was important for a variety of reasons. The Basque derby always produces high emotions and energy, making a win over their top rival an important result for the morale of everyone involved with the club. The three points were also critical in terms of LaLiga’s table, moving La Real up to ninth place with 11 points through eight fixtures.
Now in the midst of the international break, manager Asier Garitano has an opportunity to evaluate his team and get his players ready for upcoming games. The overall health of the squad has been a struggle, presenting an opportunity for Real Sociedad to have some individuals take steps towards becoming fully-fit contributors once again.
Midfielder Mikel Merino (groin) and defender Joseba Zaldúa (ankle) each missed the match against Athletic, with an expected return undetermined at this point for both players. These two situations came about following injuries to Adnan Januzaj and Martín Merquelanz during the past two months as well.
With difficult matches approaching in the coming weeks against Girona, Atlético Madrid and Sevilla, Garitano will certainly want all of his best players available as the club look to climb the table further. Forward Juanmi’s return from a suspension should also provide a boost for the front-line.
Real Sociedad benefitted from two penalties in the recent win at the San Mamés, with midfielder Mikel Oyarzabal netting both of his goals from the spot. But positive play was also seen throughout the middle of the line-up in that game, as Luca Sangalli and Igor Zubeldia performed well. Having all players available is always something that a manager wants, and time away from the pitch now can be very useful for La Real.
Real Sociedad’s next LaLiga match will be on October 22, as they host Girona at the Estadio Anoeta.