Real Sociedad v Manchester United
In what is effectively a play-off for first place in Group E of the Europa League, Manchester United need to win by a margin of two goals or more in order to secure top spot and topple Real Sociedad.
It was no fluke when Real Sociedad raided Old Trafford and came back to San Sebastián with a 1-0 win in September. Since then, they’ve won nine from 12 matches, with five of those nine wins being to nil. It has been enough to see them lead Group E in the Europa League and also sit fifth in LaLiga.
Manchester United fans may remember the 4-0 win from their visit in the Europa League last 32 in 2021, but can expect a tie more akin to the 0-0 draw from their 2013/14 Champions League fixture in the north of Spain. Real Sociedad were unbeaten in six at the Reale Arena until Real Betis provided a shock with 87th and 93rd minute goals to end that run on Sunday night.
Cristiano Ronaldo may also fancy his chances of scoring, given his record of 15 goals in nine games against Real Sociedad during his time at Real Madrid, but curiously all 15 came at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. If he features for the Red Devils, this will be his first game at the Reale Arena since 29th October 2011.
Real Sociedad’s ability to grind out a result on home turf, plus the importance of this competition for them, will make it a very tough test for Manchester United. Despite back-to-back losses in LaLiga, Imanol Alguacil’s team continue to perform well in Europe and will be confident of seeing out their mission and avoiding defeat.
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