Arbeloa: Real face a tough test

Arbeloa: Real face a tough test

Published Feb. 5, 2011 2:27 p.m. ET

Alvaro Arbeloa is expecting a tough test this weekend as Real Madrid host Real Sociedad and bid to get their La Liga bid back on track.

Jose Mourinho's men bounced back from that setback in midweek by knocking out holders Sevilla to progress through to the final of the Copa del Rey, but if the Spanish giants want to keep their league hopes alive they know they can ill afford another slip-up this weekend.

Madrid have won their last 20 competitive matches at the Bernabeu, but they had a hard time in their first meeting against promoted Sociedad this season - winning 2-1 at Anoeta thanks to a deflected goal 16 minutes from time - and Arbeloa doubts it will be easy this time either.

"I'm sure it's going to be a nice match, but we are going to have to work hard to win the three points," the Spain international told Bwin.


"Sociedad made things very difficult for us in Anoeta and I'm sure they are also going to make thing difficult at the Bernabeu.

"They have good players in attack and especially on the wings.

"Xabi Prieto, (Raul) Tamudo, (Antoine) Griezmann are doing well, and (David) Zurutuza is also a quality player, and maybe the fact that they are coming here without any pressure will make them feel more comfortable.

"They are good up front, so we will have to be very focused."

Sociedad have enjoyed a fine return to the top flight after winning the Segunda Division title last season and have already picked up 28 points, leaving them seven points off the European places and 10 clear of the relegation zone.

However, he also believes his team can give the capital club some headaches - even though history suggests it will be Madrid celebrating tomorrow night.

In 63 league meetings between the two at the Bernabeu, Madrid have won 44 compared to just three wins for Sociedad.

"We had a great match against them at Anoeta and Mourinho himself admitted to me that we didn't deserve to have lost," Lasarte said.

"We can cause them cause them problems, we've had a good week, we have heart, high hopes and dreams.

"It's not going to be easy to stop them, we will have to be united and not leave any space, but we also have to create chances."

Winger Griezmann added: "Madrid is nothing out of this world. We can do damage on the counter-attack."