Manchester United vs Real Sociedad Preview

Manchester United begin their Europa League campaign with a home match against Real Sociedad. United faced the Spanish outlet for the first time since their Round of 32 tie in the 2020/21 campaign. While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team performed the perfect counter-attacking masterclass in the away tie, the home leg resulted in a 0-0 draw in which United made 11 changes and almost lost had Oyarzabal not skied his penalty.

Now this is a whole different situation with the pressure being less high in a group stage fixture but still a game United expect and have to win. On the back of four impressive wins in a row including a brilliant 3-1 win over Arsenal, United will look to take momentum into a tricky fixture at Selhurst Park. They will hope to do damage against a Sociedad side that have only won two games so far this season and have already suffered a heavy defeat to Barcelona. Here’s all you need to know:

Manchester United vs Real Sociedad Match Information:

Teams: Manchester United and Real Sociedad
Date: Thursday 8th September 2022
KO Time: 20:00 GMT
Stadium: Old Trafford
Managers: Erik ten Hag and Imanol Alguacil
Referee: Marco Di Bello

Team News:

Manchester United

Manchester United have no new injury concerns but may not risk Lisandro Martinez and Marcus Rashford who were outstanding against Arsenal and withdrawn due to minor concerns. Anthony Martial, Brandon Williams and Facundo Pellistri will not be available. Aaron Wan-Bissaka looks unavailable due to personal reasons and I do hope he and his family are ok. Donny van de Beek missed the bench for the Arsenal game and may be ready for his first start of the season. Casemiro and Dubravka are likely to make their full debuts.

Real Sociedad

Sociedad are having a big issue with injuries at the moment. Stand-out defender, Robin le Normand is out for the fixture along with main marksman Mikel Oyarzabal. This along with the injuries to Diego Rico, Martin Merquelanz and Carlos Fernandez will prove a tricky task for the Spanish team. I expect they will try and sit back and hold on for a win.

Interesting Facts:

  • Manchester United have only lost three of their last twelve Europa League group stage games, two of which came under Jose Mourinho in 2016.
  • Manchester United have been knocked out of six of the last seven European competitions by Spanish clubs despite winning five of their last ten games against Spanish opposition.
  • Bruno Fernandes has 33 G/A in 33 games in the Europa League. This includes 13 G/A in 14 games for Manchester United

Manchester United vs Real Sociedad Predicted XI

I expect a lot of changes from the side that beat Arsenal. I do think some players will keep their position due to availability from other members but most of the side will be changed. We should expect a home debut for Martin Dubravka between the sticks. He should be accompanied by a back line of Shaw, Maguire, Lindelof and Diogo Dalot. If Wan-Bissaka is feeling ok to play I think Dalot will be rested but since he attended the press conference, it seems Dalot will start.

In midfield, again another full debut for Casemiro alongside his international compatriot, Fred. One of Bruno or Eriksen will start and I expect the former given his record in the competition. The front three could be an interesting one. Elanga could return to the starting XI along with Ronaldo but perhaps Sancho starts to help break down Sociedad. Antony should keep his place and try and build on a good start against Arsenal.

Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Dubravka; Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Casemiro, Fred; Antony, Fernandes, Sancho; Ronaldo

Predicted Score:

I feel optimistic for this one. Sociedad have their most dangerous players either sold or injured along with their best defender. It could be a great game if United turn up with the confidence and control they demonstrated against Arsenal. A hat-full would do the trick along with some players scoring important goals for their confidence.

United to win 3-0

Author: Arjun Handa

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