Season in review: Real Sociedad run it back into Europe for a fifth straight season

Position: 6th – 60 points
Grade: B+
Record: 16-12-10
Goals Scored: 51
Goals Conceded: 39

Top Scorer: Mikel Oyarzabal – 14

Top Assister: Brais Mendez – 9

Story of the season

Real Sociedad, as usual, started off as one of the best sides in Spain, and even were one of the best in Europe through the Champions League group stages, which they topped ahead of the best team in Italy. Takefusa Kubo was electric, Martin Zubimendi continued to swivel out of reach for the opposition, and Mikel Oyarzabal was sharp and refined.

In La Liga they were lagging a little way behind where they wanted to be, and the fact that none of their natural number nines could score really started to catch up with them in 2024. Kubo never recovered fully from the Asian Cup exertions, and the bit between their teeth will be their loss to RCD Mallorca in the Copa del Rey semi-finals. They will feel unfortunate not to have gone through, and that might have painted this season a little bit differently, with things appearing to deflate somewhat after the PSG defeat.

Too far off Athletic Club and Atletico Madrid for the top four, and not pushed too hard by Real Betis for sixth spot, La Real cruised into Europe for fifth straight season. Can’t argue with that.

Grade Explanation

This season looks a little bit better with some distance. Semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, Champions League knockout stages and sixth spot is a good season on paper, even if it was a missed opportunity to assert themselves as the fourth force in Spain, but Girona blew those hopes apart. The fatigue from the same pattern of success until January and a drop off after probably doesn’t help either.

La Real could have gotten more out of some of their resources – namely Umar Sadiq and Arsene Zakharyan. The struggle for goals is a major issue though, and it is high time they found a way of combating their post-January issues.

Standout moment: 4-3 win over Benfica. Bouncing Reale Arena, the result looks close, but Real Sociedad slaughtered their opponents and made it clear their first Champions League campaign in a decade was going to be an event.

Key player: Alex Remiro – in a season of inconsistencies, he remained strong throughout, and is currently part of the Spain setup as a result.

Surprise of the season: Ander Barrenetxea – he was showing signs last year, but it no longer feels like we have to think about his bad injury when he plays. Back to himself, Barrenetxea was a starter for most of the season.

Glass half full

It added insult to injury that Alexander Sorloth was on fire at Villarreal, but La Real know they are a lethal striker away from challenging for the top four again (they may well do anyway). They have genuinely exciting young talents coming through, such as Benat Turrientes, and none of their competition for the European spots look as stable as they do, with Athletic Club and Girona adding Europe to their schedule next season.

Glass half empty

It looks as if they will lose Robin Le Normand, who has been key in recent seasons, and while they can replace him, were they to lose Mikel Merino and/or Martin Zubimendi, that would be a much taller job for Robeto Olabe. While we know they are just a striker away, at this point it’s worth asking if what Imanol Alguacil asks of his strikers is conducive to scoring 20 goals per season. Alexander Isak and Sorloth had decent but streaky seasons, and they need to find a way of guaranteeing goals from somewhere.

The post Season in review: Real Sociedad run it back into Europe for a fifth straight season appeared first on Football España.

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