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Preview: Real Sociedad vs. Sevilla - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's La Liga meeting between Real Sociedad and Sevilla, including team news and predicted lineups.

Real Sociedad take on Sevilla at Anoeta Stadium on Thursday evening in their penultimate La Liga fixture of the season, aiming to join their opponents in securing European football.

The White and Blues have struggled for form since returning to action last month and are holding onto seventh place, while Sevilla are already assured of a top-four finish.

Match preview

Sevilla's Fernando celebrates scoring their second goal against Real Betis on June 11, 2020© Reuters

Villarreal's defeat to Real Sociedad on Monday ensures that Sevilla will be competing in the Champions League next season after a two-year absence.

Los Nervionenses have been in good form of late, winning four on the bounce and going 15 matches without defeat in all competitions either side of the three-month hiatus.

Finishing above Atletico Madrid in third is an attainable target for Julen Lopetegui's side given that they are level on points with Atleti with two games to play.

However, focus will no doubt be on their Europa League last-16 tie with Roma, which has been rearranged for August on neutral soil.

It is shaping up to be a season to remember for Sevilla, then, and the same is very much true for Sociedad as they are also still battling on two fronts.

As well as looking to hold off Athletic Bilbao for sixth place and the guarantee of Europa League football, the Royal will also face their Basque rivals in the Copa del Rey final.

Real Sociedad defender Diego Llorente pictured in March 2020© Reuters

Rather than looking behind at Athletic, though, Imanol Alguacil will no doubt be looking up at Getafe and Villarreal, with just three points separating the sides.

The 2019-20 season could have offered even more for Sociedad, however, given that they were fourth not so long ago following a run of four wins in five matches.

They have won only two of their nine matches since then, with that latest victory coming last time out against Villarreal - Willian Jose and Diego Llorente on target for Alguacil's side.

Having lost three of their last four home matches, though, and won just one of their last seven league encounters with Sevilla, picking up the win they need on Thursday will be a big ask.

Real Sociedad's La Liga form: LLWDLW

Sevilla's La Liga form: DDWWWW

Team News

Real Sociedad striker Willian Jose pictured in November 2019© Reuters

Adnan Januzaj and Asier Illarramendi head the list of Sociedad's injury absentees for Thursday evening's clash.

Right-back Joseba Zaldua has recovered from injury and should start, however, with Andoni Gorosabel expected to drop out.

Willian Jose has yet to register in six La Liga meetings with Sevilla - his worst run against any side in the competition - though he is likely to start alongside Mikel Oyarzabal.

As for the visitors, goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik is still not over a knee injury that has kept him out of the last two matches, so Yassine Bounou will continue between the sticks.

A quick turnaround in fixtures could force Lopetegui to tweak things slightly, but Munir El Haddadi and Lucas Ocampos will be hopeful of retaining their places in attack.

Luuk de Jong is in contention to take over from Oliver Torres, though, having missed out on selection in the 2-0 win over Mallorca.

Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Moya; Zaluda, Llorente, Normand, Monreal; Odegaard, Zubeldia, Merino; Portu, Willian Jose, Oyarzabal

Sevilla possible starting lineup:
Bounou; Navas, Kounde, Carlos, Escudero; Jordan, Fernando, Banega; Ocampos, De Jong, Munir

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We say: Real Sociedad 1-1 Sevilla

There is no doubt that Sociedad have dropped off the pace since last month's restart, losing five and drawing two of their last nine matches. Sevilla have won just one of their last eight La Liga games in San Sebastian, however, so we can see this one ending all square.

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Sevilla's Lucas Ocampos pictured in February 2020
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