Since the Reds humbling 4-0 away defeat to Brentford in August new Head Coach Erik Ten Hag has galvanised his side. During the intervening period we have seen the Reds collect an impressive 12 points with 4 straight league victories, scoring 7 goals and conceding only 2. It should be noted that those 2 goals were against Premier League heavyweights, Liverpool and Arsenal. One positive aspect of the recent turnaround is the consistent backline. Whilst Raphael Varane endured an injury plagued first season at Old Trafford, he has quickly formed a great understanding with defensive partner and new addition, Lisandro Martinez. However, we can expect numerous changes in the starting XI which may have a knock on effect here.
United’s opponents Real Sociedad travel from Northern Spain in the Basque region for this one. They’ve made a steady start to their domestic campaign, sitting comfortably in mid-table with 7 points from their first 4 fixtures. Their only defeat so far came at home at the hands of Catalan powerhouses Barcelona. This has been the sternest test for the San Sebastian club thus far. During this 4-1 defeat their solitary goal was scored by Swedish striker Alexander Isak, who has since made the move to Premier League Newcastle United. This is undoubtedly a severe blow to the club’s aspirations this season.
Manchester United v Real Sociedad Bet Builder Tips
Manchester United to Win
Firstly, the Europa League provides Manchester United with an excellent opportunity of lifting a trophy this season. They’ve been installed as the second favourites and are trading around the 6/1 mark to win the competition outright. The transfer window slammed shut around a week ago, with the squad all set and ready to go. In the last 32 matches United have played in the EL, they’re undefeated in 29 of these. This superb record goes to show that they do take this competition seriously, and will no doubt hope to go a long way in it once more.
Home matches in Europe tend to be the ones targeted for picking up maximum points. This will no doubt be true for United, as potential banana skins await in Spain, Moldova and Cyprus in their other group away ties. Opponents Real Sociedad are no mugs whatsoever but they do not possess the star quality of United. They’ll be missing key player and Spanish international Mikel Oyarzabal, still out with his torn ACL. I feel they may well struggle in the final third in this game and expect them to shape up in a defensive style, in an attempt to avoid defeat.
I’m expecting the Reds to be straight out the traps here, continuing their current strong form. In 6 out of the last 8 competitive matches at Old Trafford, United have managed to gain all 3 points. The momentum is starting to build right now and I personally believe this is a bad time to be facing Manchester United. The price quoted on a home victory is 4/6 for this and I feel that’s well worth adding to the bet builder to kick us off!
David Silva to have 1+ Shot on Target
David Silva will have added motivation this Thursday as he finds himself back in Manchester, this time representing the Spaniards, Real Sociedad. As an ex Manchester City legend, he will no doubt be hoping to stamp his authority on this particular game. In the opening four games of the La Liga campaign, Silva has had 5 shots on target. This equates to an average of 1.25 SoT’s per 90 minutes, an impressive return. There’s no doubt he will want to be the star of the show here and he still retains a supreme ability as a footballer. He’s likely to set up in the attacking midfield role where we’ve seen him in all the games in the league, playing just off the 2 strikers. Chances may not be at a premium here so it is most probable that shots fired off from range may be the way through for the Spaniards. Something that we know David Silva can do so well, having done this on a regular basis for some time now.
The accuracy is the key for us here as the shot needs to be on target, however each shot he’s taken this season has found the target. He poses a pin-point record with his shots, so I’m banking on him repeating the feat here. I believe we may well see him on free kick duty too, this can clearly be another way we can see him manage to have a SoT. Within the 90 minutes played, I believe the away side will muster up a few chances and there’ll be every chance Silva can be the man who has an effort on goal that can trouble the United goalkeeper. It has to be mentioned that De Gea will most likely be rested for this game, meaning Dubravka may be given his full debut. Even more reason to get behind this particular pick.
Cristiano Ronaldo to Score Anytime
Cristiano Ronaldo looks to be absolutely itching to get his goal scoring campaign off the mark. He’s been utilised in recent weeks from the bench and this matchup seems to be an ideal chance for him to kick start his season. All the signs are there to see him be given his second start, so I’m backing him to be in the mood and on the scoresheet. I briefly touched on his sensational record in European competitions over the years in the previous section and this is part of my reasoning for the pick.
The Portuguese star is set to be on penalty and free kick duty throughout, giving us further opportunities of seeing him find the back of the net. He has scored all sorts of other goals over the years though; headers, long range efforts, tap-ins, left footed strikes – the list goes on. I don’t need to go into this too much as I think we all know just how incredible a player is, especially in a goal scoring sense!
In the half an hour played against Arsenal at the weekend, he managed to generate an xG of 0.3, from the 2 shots taken. The signs are definitely there for Ronaldo and I very much believe it’s just a matter of time before one of these shots go in. Last season, United would have been in serious trouble in their Champions League group without the Portuguese star. He single handedly carried United through the early stages of the competition with 6 goals in the opening 5 matches. Again, displaying fine goal scoring form and against supposed stronger opposition.
A fun little fact is that during Ronaldo’s time spent at Real Madrid, he faced Real Sociedad 9 times and scored an incredible 15 goals. Let’s hope for much of the same on Thursday night, this time in the Red of Manchester United.
Over 1.5 Real Sociedad Cards
A real solid selection to finish up on here, the Basque side has accumulated a total of 12 yellow cards in their opening 4 games. With 2+ cautions picked up in all of these, demonstrating a 100% winning record in relation to the selection here. Spanish sides tend to have extremely poor disciplinary records especially in domestic competition. There’s no reason why this will not continue into this European competition either. This is a fixture in which United are expected to take the game to their opponents, in doing so they are likely to rack up a decent percentage of possession throughout. In turn, we may well see numerous fouls made by the away side and we know they’re not shy of sticking their foot in if needing to stop their opponent. The fact we only need 2 away bookings here as well means it is an extremely achievable target that I’m expecting us to land.
The Italian, Marco Di Bello is at the whistle and he’s been fairly card heavy in the matches refereed this season. In the 5 matches so far, he’s dished out 23 cards at an average of 4.6 cards per game. These encouraging stats have enabled me to jump onboard the selection of Sociedad 2+ bookings. I feel the away side may struggle in the full back area of the field, with United now having serious options in attack down the flanks. Whoever does start on the wing will no doubt be expected to get at the full backs due to the dribbling skills they possess. Garnacho, Elanga, Rashford, Antony are just a few examples of players who may play this role on Thursday. They’ll all be tough to stop and Sociedad may well end up picking up a card or two just in these wide areas. All in all though there’s bound to be plenty of chances for a couple of cards to be given out to Sociedad in other areas too. So, add this final pick to finish up the bet builder for this Europa League tie!
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Manchester United v Real Sociedad Cheat Sheet
Manchester United v Real Sociedad Predicted Line-ups:
Manchester United predicted XI (4-2-3-1) : Dubravka; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Casemiro, Fred; Antony, Fernandes, Elanga; Ronaldo
Real Sociedad predicted XI (4-3-3) : Remiro; Gorosabel, Zubeldia, Elustondo, Munoz; Mendez, Zubimendi, Merino; Silva; Sadiq, Sorloth
* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing *
How to watch Manchester United v Real Sociedad in the Europa League?
📅 When is Manchester United v Real Sociedad? / Thursday, 8th September 2022, 20:00
🏟 Where is Manchester United v Real Sociedad? / Old Trafford (Manchester)
📺 What TV channel is Manchester United v Real Sociedad on? / BT Sport 1
🟨 …And who is the referee for Manchester United v Real Sociedad? / M. Di Bello 🇮🇹