Manchester United vs Real Sociedad Preview

Manchester United vs Real Sociedad Preview

Barring a capitulation, Manchester United should qualify through to the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League against Real Sociedad on Thursday evening. The Red Devils currently have a 4-0 lead going into the fixture and is expected the team will see some changes from the first leg in Turin. 

United seem to be heading back in the right direction after few weeks of patchy form. We were given a scare early on Sunday evening in the league game against Newcastle United. Despite a spirited performance from the Magpies, we struck back through goals from Rashford, James and Fernandes to record a 3-1 victory. Bruno’s goal was his 15th of the league campaign.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side is now unbeaten in the last seven games across all competitions. In those games, we have won five of those. We have only failed to score once in the last 11 matches which was our lost in the EFL Cup semi-finals against Manchester City. We have scored at least three goals in the last four games at Old Trafford.

United put in an impressive performance against Real Sociedad as both Fernandes and James were on the scoresheet in the first leg. We used our pace to sweep aside the Spanish side as we have one foot in the next round. It would take an all mighty collapse from the Red Devils to go out of the competition.

We have not managed to win three games in a row across all competitions since December. We might not see a repeat of last week 4-0 drubbing given the changes being made to the side. Real Sociedad will be playing for pride but we will want to show what they are capable of at Old Trafford.

Opposition Preview

Real Sociedad had been considered La Liga title contenders during the first half of the season. However, this hope has now faded as they have struggled to keep up with the bigger clubs both in the league and Europe.

They had only just got into the knockout stages of Europa League by finishing in second place, one point above AZ Alkmaar. It likely their European dream will be over for another season as it is hard to see them coming back from such a deficit in the first leg.

Real Sociedad recovered from the defeat last week as they won their league game against Alaves by 4-0. There was a hat-trick from Alexander Isak and Portu also got on the scoresheet. Isak has scored nine times in the last six league games. They have also managed to win three league games in a row before their trip to Old Trafford.

Manager Imanol Alguacil will be wanting to see his side play with some belief though it is unlikely they will produce the comeback to overturn the tie.

Manchester United vs Real Sociedad

Teams: Manchester United vs Real Sociedad

Date: February 25th, 2020 (Thursday)

KO Time: 20:00 GMT

Competition: UEFA Europa League

Stadium: Old Trafford

Referee: Lawrence Visser

Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Imanol Alguacil

Manchester United Team News

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær has confirmed that Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay, Edinson Cavani, Donny Van De Beek and Phil Jones are not available for this game. He said in pre-match conference, “They’ve not joined training so they won’t be ready. no. Paul has been outside on the grass and is starting to step up his recovery but he’s not near the team for this game. It’ll be more or less the same squad that we had against Newcastle,” added the boss at his press conference.

Ole could give starts to the following players, Dean Henderson, Brandon Williams, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata. Captain Harry Maguire is one yellow card away from suspension so he could be given a rest for this game. This would mean Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe could come into the centre of the defence.

Amad Diallo and Shola Shoretire will be in the squad but are not expected to start against Real Sociedad.

Manchester United vs Real Sociedad Pre-Match Press Conference

During the pre-match press conference, Ole was asked about our opponents Real Sociedad and the differences between the sides. He said, “For me, the fitter you are, the more you can do. The best teams have the physicality, technicality and the mentality. Marcus is exceptional, Dan is exceptional with his pace. We found a way of finding space in behind him, but they are very technically good. When you have David Silva out there you have to focus for 90 minutes.

Daniel James who was alongside manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær during the press conference was asked how he feels about the kind of season he is having. He said, “I think it’s been a learning one for me. I played a lot last season, more than I expected coming in. I think as a season, it’s been a learning one for me – time to knuckle down, get stuff done in training, reflect on things, and I think that’s what I’ve done. I’m reflecting every day on getting back to where I want to be.

He was also asked how hungry are the squad to pick up some silverware this season. James said, “Yeah, I think you’ve seen this season we’re so hungry to pick up silverware. I think last season we were just that little bit off, but this season we want to go that step further.

Real Sociedad Team News

For our opponents, they will be without defenders Robin Le Normand who is suspended. Whilst Joseba Zaldua had picked up a hamstring injury during the first leg against United. He will be replaced by Andoni Gorosabel and Modibo Sagnan will take the place of Le Normand.

Whilst former United player Adnan Januzaj did not have the best time last week cannot be sure of a starting place with teammate Portu pushing to get ahead of him.

Form Guide

Manchester United Europa League form: W

Manchester United form (all competitions): WDWDWW

Real Sociedad Europa League form: LWDDDL

Real Sociedad form (all competitions): LDWWLW

Interesting Facts

  • Manchester United have won just one of their last nine home matches against Spanish opponents (D4 L4), failing to score in their last two. That one win came against Real Sociedad in the UEFA Champions League group stages in 2013-14. (source: Opta)
  • United are unbeaten in 14 UEFA Europa League matches at Old Trafford (W12 D2) since losing 3-2 to Marcelo Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao in 2011-12. (source: Opta)
  • Manchester United could keep two clean sheets in a European knockout round for the first time since their Round of 32 tie against Saint-Etienne in 2017.
  • If fit, Edinson Cavani could score his 50th European goal and 25th United appearance.

Manchester United vs Real Sociedad Predicted Lineup

Henderson; Williams, Tuanzebe, Bailly, Telles; Fred, Matic; James, Mata, Rashford; Greenwood


It is expected that some of the key players will be given a rest for this tie. Whilst United does not need to go all out for victory given the lead, we will want to see a performance from the team.  It will be great to see Amad Diallo and Shola Shoretire get more game time as they will be involved with the squad. Whilst this game will be a much closer affair, United will progress through to the next round of the competition.

Predicted Score

Manchester United 2-1 Real Sociedad

Author: Andrew Wall

My name is Andrew and I have been a Manchester United fan my whole life. I have a season ticket in the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand attending all our home games. My favourite United player of all time is Eric Cantona. I want to share through this blog my thoughts and opinions on Manchester United. You can find me on Twitter: @andrew_wall and Instagram: andrewcwall

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