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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

Sports Mole Logo

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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European Roundup: Sevilla edge closer to Champions League qualification

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States22251764
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events

· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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