Real Sociedad -v- Manchester United
UEFA Europa League
Old Trafford, Manchester
Thursday 3 November 2022, KO 17:45 GMT
Manchester United will travel to Spain for the final UEFA Europa League group stage match of the season against Real Sociedad. The Spanish side were the only team to beat United in the competition this season. United will need to win by two goals to top the group. It’s achievable.
After their eight-match unbeaten streak following that humiliating defeat to Manchester City, Erik ten Hag’s side are on to better things at this stage of the season. Winning the group and avoiding a play off round of matches is important for United, who could use the time for better things.
Earlier in the season, United had two Premier League matches postponed which could be played, as long as they can be arranged, during the time the play off round of matches would be played, or at least that could be what happens instead. United need to win again on the road.
Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists
West Ham United 1-0 W, Sheriff Tiraspol 3-0 W, Chelsea 1-1 D, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 W, Newcastle United 0-0 D, Omonia Nicosia 1-0 W
Goals: 7 – Marcus Rashford, 3 – Antony, Anthony Martial, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, 2 – Bruno Fernandes, 1 – Casemiro, Diogo Dalot, Fred, Own Goal, Scott McTominay
Assists: 5 – Christian Eriksen, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, 1 – Casemiro, Diogo Dalot, Anthony Elanga, Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho
Real Sociedad – Form, Goals Scored & Assists
Real Betis 2-0 L, Omonia Nicosia 2-0 W, Valladolid 1-0 L, Mallorca 1-0 W, Celta Vigo 2-1 W, Sheriff Tiraspol 3-0 W
Goals: 7 – Brais Méndez, 5 – Alexander Sørloth, 2 – Takefusa Kubo, Robert Navarro, 1 – Aritz Elustondo, Ander Guevara, Asier Illarramendi, Alexander Isak, Mikel Merino, Diego Rico, Umar Sadiq, David Silva, Igor Zubeldia, Martín Zubimendi
Assists: 4 – Takefusa Kubo, Mikel Merino, 3 – Brais Méndez, 2 – Momo Cho, Robert Navarro, Alexander Sørloth, Martín Zubimendi, 1 – Asier Illarramendi, David Silva
Previous Meetings & Connections
United and Real Sociedad have met five times in European competition with United winning two matches, drawing two matches and Real Sociedad winning one. United have scored five goals, keeping four clean sheets. Real Sociedad have scored one goal, keeping one 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. Sociedad won 1-0 last time.
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.
Raphael Varane and Axel Tuanzebe are both ruled out of the final UEFA Europa League group stage match against Real Sociedad. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Antony, Victor Lindelof and Anthony Martial all have 50% chances of being involved in this match. United will be up for the challenge.
Bruno Fernandes will be suspended for the Premier League trip to Villa Park to face Aston Villa on Sunday, so should start this match. Donny van de Beek could also have some involvement in this match as he could have a chance to start against Villa this weekend. We shall see.
Takefusa Kubo, David Silva, Ander Barrenetxea, Momo Cho, Aihen Munoz, Mikel Oyarzabal and Umar Sadiq all look set to miss the important clash with United but Alex Sola could return in time to face United. This is going to be a big match for both teams to top the Europa League group.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Dalot, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw;
Antony, Fernandes, Ronaldo;
Predicted Real Sociedad Starting XI – 4-1-3-2
Sola, Le Normand, Pacheco, Rico;
Méndez, Marin, Merino;
United need to winches match by two clear goals in order to top the UEFA Europa League group and avoid a play off round of matches. This is important for United, who will have two clear game weeks to play one of both of the postponed matches from earlier this season.
Ten Hag will be seeking for United to do all they can to sit in the driving seat in the group. Real Sociedad have 15 points so far with a goal difference of nine. United have 12 points with a goal difference of six. A 2-0 victory would see United win the group with an eight goal difference.
United can do this. Sociedad have some players who will be out for this match, weakening the squad. Plus, added to their domestic form, losing both of their last two La Liga matches, it is United who have the advantage. I believe United could find three goals against the Spanish side.
Real Sociedad 0-3 Manchester United
Written by John Walker