Manchester United -v- Real Sociedad
UEFA Europa League
Old Trafford, Manchester
Thursday 8 September 2022, KO 20:00 BST
Manchester United will open their UEFA Europa League campaign by entertaining Real Sociedad at Old Trafford on Thursday evening. Erik ten Hag’s side will be seeking their fifth victory in a row this season after the opening two defeats in the Premier League.
United have a good record against the Spanish club, playing four times, winning twice and drawing twice. Only five goals have been scored, all of them for United (one being an own goal). Real Sociedad sit in ninth position in La Liga after four matches so far.
Ten Hag’s side sit in fifth place in the Premier League after six matches, turning their season around after the defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford, winning their next four matches against Liverpool, Southampton, Leicester City and Arsenal.
Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists
Arsenal 3-1 W, Leicester City 1-0 W, Southampton 1-0 W, Liverpool 2-1 W, Brentford 4-0 L, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 L
Goals: 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Jadon Sancho, 1 – Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Own Goal
Assists: 2 – Marcus Rashford, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Anthony Elanga, Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial
Real Sociedad – Form, Goals Scored & Assists
Atletico Madrid 1-1 D, Elche 1-0 W, Barcelona 4-1 L, Cadiz 1-0 W, Athletic Club 1-0 L, Eibar 2-1 L
Goals: 1 – Alexander Isak, Takefusa Kubo, Brais Mendez, Umar Sadiq
Assists: 1 – Mohamed Ali-Cho, Mikel Merino, Martin Zubimendi
Previous Meetings & Connections
United and Real Sociedad have met four times in European competition with United winning two matches, drawing two matches and Real Sociedad winning none. United have scored five goals, keeping four clean sheets. Real Sociedad have scored no goals, keeping no clean sheets.
The first two matches between the two clubs were played in the UEFA Champions League in the 2013/14 season, winning 1-0 and drawing 0-0. In the 2020/21 season, United met them in the round of 32 in the UEFA Europa League, winning 4-0 and drawing 0-0.
Adnan Januzaj is the only transfer between the two clubs, signing for them in the summer of 2017. Januzaj made 63 appearances for United, scoring five goals and six assists. At Real Sociedad he made 168 appearances, scoring 23 goals and 21 assists.
Anthony Martial, Facundo Pellistri and Axel Tuanzebe are ruled out at this time. Ten Hag has suggested that he will rest the likes of Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia against Real Sociedad on Thursday.
This should see the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw returning to the starting XI. Phil Jones and Brandon Williams have not been included in the squad for the Europa League this season. Antony, Casemiro, Fred and Cristiano Ronaldo are set to start.
Diego Rico, Mikel Oyarzabal and Carlos Fernández are out injured at the moment for the Spanish side. They do have enough players though and former Manchester City attacking midfielder David Silva could well be a threat for United.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Dalot, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw;
Antony, Eriksen, Elanga;
Predicted Real Sociedad Starting XI – 4-3-1-2
Gorosabel, Zubeldia, Elustondo, Muñoz;
Méndez, Zubimendi, Merino;
Manchester United have a good record against Real Sociedad and are undefeated against them in four appearances. United will be a much changed team from their last four Premier League matches but should be strong enough to get a good result in this match.
United have scored five goals, conceding none in the four matches they have played in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. Ten Hag will be seeking a first win in the Europa League this season, setting United up for the remaining matches.
It is expected that Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia will be rested ahead of the Premier League clash against Crystal Palace on Sunday but the likes of Casemiro, Fred, Antony and Cristiano Ronaldo should all be starting this match, which is a good sign.
Manchester United 2-1 Real Sociedad
Written by John Walker