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PSV and Real Sociedad are Evenly Matched

Both teams have displayed excellent league form and made the knockout stage of the Europa League last season

Europa League action kicks off with a full slate of 16 matches and PSV hosts Real Sociedad to set up a hotly contested opener.

Both sides qualified for the knockout stage of last season’s Europa League, but the soccer odds favor PSV. The Dutch side has +145 odds to win while Sociedad is listed at +185. It’s easy to see why as PSV has taken the Eredivisie by storm and taken all 12 points from its first four matches.

PSV players celebrate a goal during the Dutch Eredivisie football match between AZ Alkmaar and PSV Eindhoven
Ed van de Pol / ANP / AFP

Even so, Sociedad is favored to win Group B at +110 while PSV is on the outside looking in, with French side Monaco also expected to qualify for the knockout stage.

Game: PSV Eindhoven vs Real Sociedad

Location: Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands

Date/Time: Sept. 16, 3 p.m. ET

PSV’s Perfect Start

PSV is alone at the top of the Eredivisie table following a 4-0 start. The Eindhoven club last won the league in 2018 and is one of the top soccer picks to do so in 2021-22.

That’s despite losing star winger Donyell Malen to Borussia Dortmund and defender Denzel Dumfries to Inter over the Summer. It’ll be tough to replace Malen’s 27 goals in all competitions from 2020-21 but the goals have been flowing and coming from multiple sources.

Forwards Eran Zahavi, Noni Madueke, Bruma and defender Olivier Boscagli have all scored two goals in the first four matches of the season. Madueke is one to keep an eye on as the English youth international is only 19 and has already established himself as a first team regular.

Interestingly enough, Mario Götze, the former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich star who scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup Final, now plies his trade with PSV. He scored five goals in 18 league appearances last season and turned down reported interest from top clubs to sign with Eindhoven until 2024.

PSV finished at the top of its Europa League group last season, which included another Spanish club, Granada. PSV split its meetings with Granada in the Group Stage and went out in the Round of 32 after losing to Olympiacos 5-4 on aggregate.

Sociedad on Clean Sheet Streak

Barcelona defeated Real Sociedad 4-2 in the La Liga opener and first match of the post-Lionel Messi era. Since then, Real Sociedad has won three straight matches in La Liga, shot up to fourth place in the table and been a great pick for betting online.

Forward/winger Mikel Oyarzabal has been scoring left and right and has four goals through four matches. Oyarzabal scored both of Sociedad’s goals in a 2-0 win vs Cadiz at the weekend. Oyarzabal’s 71st minute header put the visitors in front and he added a second on a coolly taken penalty, 13 minutes later.

Sociedad’s defense was cut up by Barcelona, who looked like it could score every time it had the ball in the attacking third. Since that match, Sociedad has shored up its back line and has kept three consecutive clean sheets. Sociedad had one of the stingiest defenses in La Liga last season, allowing just a goal per game, which was tied for second in the league.

Swedish striker Alexander Isak is back in the fold following an injury and he scored 17 goals last season. Last year, Sociedad qualified for the knockout stage of the Europa League with two wins, three draws and a loss in the group stage. In the round of 32, Sociedad was beaten by Manchester United 4-0 on aggregate.

Prediction

The odds favor PSV in the sportsbook and the Dutch side has scored eight goals in its last two matches. Real Sociedad will be tasked with stopping a potent attack but has been excellent defensively since its wake up call vs Barcelona.

PSV last lost at home on January 13th to AZ Alkmaar, a side that Sociedad beat and drew against in last years’ Europa League. This has the look of a very even match on paper and a draw seems to have the best value at +250.

Pick: Draw (+250)

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