Three questions and three answers from Real Sociedad 0-1 Real Madrid

real Madrid took another step towards the La Liga title with a 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad in San Sebastian on Friday evening. Arda Güler scored the only goal of the match with a powerful first-half finish before Takefusa Kubo was denied a goal for a foul in the build-up, giving the hosts the best chance of an equalizer.

Three answers

1. Would moving the game to Friday night make a difference?

The decision to rearrange six La Liga matches this weekend in order to give Real Madrid an extra 24 hours of rest before traveling to Munich has sparked some criticism from rival fans. This was only reinvigorated by Carlo Ancelotti's logical and sensible decision to make several changes to his team in order to rotate and rest key players. Among the starters, Éder Militão made his first start since the first day in August, Arda Güler made his first start with the club in La Liga, Dani Ceballos and Kepa made their first starts since January, Fran García since February and a De many other players also joined the team after an extended period with limited opportunities. Among the starters, only Aurélien Tchouameni and Dani Carvajal (suspended for the first leg against Bayern) were starters. As such, the extra 24 hours may not make much difference.

2. Could anyone make their way into the competition?

With so many significant changes, there were opportunities to find a way forward in the coach's thinking before the Bayern Munich game Tuesday evening. While such changes indicate that a clear plan is already in mind, this was an opportunity to make their case for many of the Channel 2 players. One man who had something to prove was Éder Militão, who surely hoped to prove his fitness more than his abilities, and endured the full 90 minutes in good form. The only negative for him might be that his rival Nacho also put in a strong performance alongside him. Fran García was also a good player. He could see an opportunity at left-back while Ferland Mendy has not yet returned to training. He made three tackles, all won, and won five duels, proving his defensive skills against a tricky client in Takefusa Kubo.

3. Is this the most difficult match remaining for Real Madrid?

On paper, this match was by far Real Madrid's toughest match in La Liga. Real Sociedad are on course to qualify for European football next season and are generally difficult to beat at home, despite their recent run of one win in six at the Reale Arena. This is why Real Madrid have only won two of their last five visits. It hasn't been easy for Real Madrid, who recorded less than half their opponent's xG with 0.28 to 0.67. Real Sociedad defended solidly and looked a threat on the flanks with Takefusa Kubo and Ander Barrenetxea. It's a total of three points that could well secure the league title a little earlier than expected if rivals Real Madrid slip up in the next two weeks.

Three questions

1. Why doesn't Arda Güler play more?

Carlo Ancelotti said before the match: “he didn't get the minutes he deserves for his work and his attitude during this period”, and it would be easy to argue that he doesn't get the minutes either that he deserves for the quality of his performances. . Considering it was his first La Liga start, he showed incredible composure and superb reading of the game to arrive in the box in the right place at the right time to produce a clinical finish and give the advantage to his team. However, we have also seen clues as to why Ancelotti may not have called on him in the most demanding matches in recent weeks. His work off the ball was slow at times, with Dani Carvajal not shying away from clearly expressing the demands of this level,

2. Who will start at full-back in Munich?

If one of the positive points of the evening could strangely turn out to be negative, it was Dani Carvajal's performance. The veteran was solid defensively and advanced wide on the right flank, even getting the assist with his cross to Güler for the opening goal. It was a stark reminder of exactly what Carlo Ancelotti will miss with the 32-year-old suspended for the first leg in Munich on Tuesday. On the other hand, Fran García could also have entered the running. Ferland Mendy's fitness remains a bit of a mystery and could make the difference, but Ancelotti may have a slight doubt as to whether Eduardo Camavinga is still second choice as an alternative if Mendy is not fully recovered in time.

3. Was Kepa treated harshly?

Kepa's performance didn't give the impression that he was Real Madrid's third goalkeeper. He made three saves to deny 0.75 xGOT, including a particularly impressive one denying a pinpoint effort from Mikel Oyarzabal on the break which hit the bottom corner but was palmed away by the Spanish keeper. We can say that, perhaps even for the first time since his arrival at the club at the end of last summer, he scored points thanks to his saves in San Sebastian. This is unlikely to make much of a difference with Andriy Lunin firmly established and Thibaut Courtois returning soon, but it could help him audition for a role elsewhere next season, or even as Lunin's replacement if he chooses to continue regular football. in 2024/25.

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