A keenly-contested battle for supremacy in Europa League Group E reaches its climax as Real Sociedad and Manchester United meet each other at the Reale Arena on Thursday.
Both sides have already sealed their berth in the knockout stage, but there’s still plenty of riding on this fixture, with a top-place finish on the line.
Sociedad’s slender 1-0 triumph at Old Trafford on day one is the only thing to separate these teams ahead of the final group stage matchday, forcing Man Utd to play catch-up in San Sebastian.
Erik ten Hag’s men have gone into overdrive following a disappointing Europa League start, stringing together four straight wins in the competition to stay within touching distance of La Real.
The Spaniards have hit the ground running since the start of Group E and have never lost their footing since, winning all five games via an aggregate score of 10-1.
Avoiding defeat would see Imanol Alguacil’s side progress into the Europa League knockout phase as group winners, a feat they achieved last season when they won all six group-stage games.
However, a sizeable injury list threatens to blow up Sociedad’s bid to qualify for the last 16 of a UEFA event for the first time in nearly 20 years, with several first-team stars unavailable for selection.
That may open a window of opportunity for Man Utd to claim their revenge and pip the Basque outfit to a top-place finish right at the death.
A brace of victories over Sheriff Tiraspol and Omonia Nicosia in this season’s Europa League group stage has equalled Sociedad’s tally of two wins in their ten previous home outings in Europe’s second-tier competition (D4, L4).
But the Reale Arena that has been a fortress in Europe this term collapsed at the weekend as Real Betis sailed to a 2-0 league triumph to end La Reale’s five-game winning home run in all competitions.
Despite beating Man Utd at Old Trafford in September, confidence may not be high in the Sociedad camp, considering Brais Mendez’s strike remains their solitary goal in five European H2Hs.
Marcus Rashford’s first-half header helped Man Utd overcome West Ham United 1-0 at the weekend, extending their unbeaten run in all competitions to eight games (W6, D2).
Ten Hag’s lads must have another success firmly in their sights after racking up an eye-catching six wins on their last seven Europa League road trips (L1).
Goals have been raining down for the Red Devils during that seven-match sequence, as they’ve netted 19 at an average of 2.7 per game, highlighting the potential for an action-packed affair.
Real Sociedad vs Manchester United Potential Line-ups
Real Sociedad (4-3-3): Alex Remiro; Andoni Gorosabel, Igor Zubeldia, Jon Pacheco, Diego Rico; Mikel Merino, Martin Zubimendi, Ander Guevara; Brais Mendez; Alexander Sorloth, Carlos Fernandez.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David de Gea; Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Casemiro, Christian Eriksen; Anthony Elanga, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford; Cristiano Ronaldo.
How to Watch?
Sociedad vs Man Utd, alongside all other Red Devils’ competitive fixtures this season, is available to watch online via Manchester United live streams.
Real Sociedad vs Manchester United Prediction
With Sociedad heading into proceedings with a plethora of first-team players missing, we expect Man Utd to upset the apple cart and stay on the upward trajectory.
Real Sociedad 0-2 Manchester United
- Who is Liverpool’s most important player – Van Dijk or Salah?
- Postecoglou confirms huge injury blow for Tottenham ahead of Crystal Palace clash
- FA Cup quarter-final TV picks confirmed, ITV will show headline fixture between Man Utd and Liverpool
- Preview: Man City vs Man United – stats, team news, line-ups
- Crystal Palace shareholder John Textor slams Premier League financial rules
- Conor Gallagher determined to stay at Chelsea despite contract stand-off and Tottenham interest
- Eric Dier makes permanent switch to Bayern Munich from Tottenham
- Premier League manager of the month nominees for February revealed
- Paul Pogba receives four-year ban for doping
- Man United fans in uproar as Old Trafford relocation plans spark outrage