Real Sociedad fans have had very little to cheer in recent seasons. With the exception of last year’sÂ Copa Del Rey success, La Real have struggled to compete with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and AtlÃ©tico in recent years. Despite this, the two-time La Liga champions headed into the November international breakÂ top of the table.Â And the evidence seems to suggestÂ that their young squad should be able toÂ cope with the pressures that come with being the early-season pacesetters.
â€” UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) November 7, 2021
Sociedad went into the international breakÂ just a single point ahead of bothÂ Sevilla and Real Madrid.Â As the latest La Liga title odds show in the football betting with Paddy Power,Â theÂ majority of pundits and bookmakers aren’t expecting them to sustain theirÂ fantastic early season form. They are currently 10/1 fourth favourites to secure their first top-flight title since 1982.
The San Sebastian-based club have a number of proven performers, including David Silva, Adnan Januzaj and Mat Ryan. But despite this, their recent success has been built onÂ developing locally-based players and promoting them from their hugely successful reserve squad, who are currently competing in the second tier. Real Sociedad B, who are coached by former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso, have been able to produce a number of first-team regulars in recent months. The majorityÂ of their starting 11 haveÂ graduated from the club’s famed academy. As reported by Football Espana, Alonso could easily have been tempted away from his boyhood club.Â However, the World Cup winner has opted to remain in GuipÃºzcoa and will be looking to build on the club’s recent success.
The Real Sociedad squad has the youngest average age in the division and there are currently 16 players who have come through the system at the Basque club. Julen Lobete has been one of the more recent success stories. According toÂ the Daily Mail, it was the forward’s last-gasp strike that helped to move La Real back to the summitÂ in mid-October.
19-year old BeÃ±at Turrientes, who first joined the club’s youth set-up seven years ago,Â recently made his debut for the senior team.Â Contrastingly,Â Aihen MuÃ±oz and Andoni Gorosabel have both established themselves as first-team regulars over the last couple of campaigns. Four players have already made the step up from Real Sociedad BÂ this season. And although this can sometimes causeÂ selection issues for Alonso, it has helped toÂ underlineÂ theÂ importance of player development at the club.
Injuries have forced the hand of coach Imanol Alguacil, with the likes of Nacho Monreal, Mikel Oyarzabal and Asier Illarramendi all having spent time on the sidelines this season. However, those established senior players mayÂ struggle to dislodge their younger counterpartsÂ upon their return to action.
The club’s biggest challenge this season will arguably be juggling theirÂ domestic and European commitments. Nevertheless, they’ve gone 16 matches unbeaten in all competitions, and in La Liga, they’veÂ conceded just a single goal at the Anoeta Stadium.
Real Sociedad have now gone 16 games unbeaten across all competitions, with their only defeat coming on the opening day of the season against Barcelona.
They go into the international break top of La Liga. ðŸ™Œ pic.twitter.com/bT4kyeuJtJ
â€” Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 7, 2021
Although some of the media focus has been placed on former Man City midfielder David Silva, the 35-year-old has largely been a peripheral figure so far. However, his presenceÂ in the dressing room is likely to play a key role, especially during the second half of the season.
With Barcelona likely to improve following a change in the dugout and Real Madrid’s star-studded squad expected to grind out results throughout January and February, Sociedad’s staying power is likely to be testedÂ over the coming weeks. This being said, their young squad has shown a remarkable resilience so far.Â TheirÂ togetherness and youthful exuberance may just be enough to enable them to sustain theirÂ title charge throughout the winter months.