Manchester United vs Real Sociedad. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats and more￼
One of the favourites in the second strongest European club competition, Manchester United, are set to begin their trek for the trophy this Thursday night. Real Sociedad will travel to England to try their luck and test their mettle against the Red Devils. The encounter marks Erik ten Hag’s debut in Europe at the helm of the British club.
Will the Mancunians be able to please their fans and prolong the winning streak? Will Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been dreaming of playing in the UEFA Champions League earlier in the off-season, have enough inspiration to carry them? Or will the visitors show character and take points from the quartet frontrunner?
Parimatchnews will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.
Manchester United News & Current Form:
Manchester United seem to be slowly coming to the fore, with Eric ten Hag showing great managerial prowess. United started with painful defeats, losing to Brighton (1-2) and Brentford (0-4), it seemed that the team again failed to find a common language with the coach, and the players simply felt as if they had forgotten how to play football.
Since then, however, United have picked up four wins in a row, and the team appear to be increasingly understanding and complying with Erik ten Hag’s demands. The Dutchman, with the help of “shock therapy”, has identified exactly what requires priority attention and adjustments. A series of tactical changes and adaptations to the current state of affairs, top-tier transfers and difficult decisions taken (e.g. removing Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo from the starting line-up) have all combined to bear fruit and the club is now more confident of staying on its feet. Further progress is to be expected, especially as newcomers such as Antony should fit even better into the team’s game.
The Brazilian, by the way, has made an excellent start. Perfectly familiar to the former Ajax coach, the winger immediately got his chance in a crucial encounter against Arsenal. The 22-year-old talent lived up to expectations, giving energy to the team and opening the scoring for the match.
The Red Devils were able to pull off their toughest test of the season so far. If the victory over a depleted Liverpool was viewed by the critics as unconvincing and occasional, the encounter against the leading Gunners (with 5 previous wins in a row) showed that the Mancunians have light at the end of the tunnel. They are now just three points off the EPL leader. Eric Ten Hag’s signature football is already “getting on” with Manchester United, albeit in short segments. Still, there is no need to get too arrogant either, Arsenal looked better in the game. But MU simply managed to make better use of their few chances. Counterattacks, passing mastery from Cristian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes, as well as the second-breath Marcus Rashford finally finding his game. The Englishman received a lot of criticism last season, but in the current campaign he has already been able to register 3 goals and 2 assists.
However, in the match against Sociedad, Marcus is unlikely to feature – the coach will try to do the rotation and let in reserve players who missed playing in the starting line-up. And this can be done safely, without fear of losing quality. The size of the names on the bench is surprising – Casemiro, Fred, Maguire, Dúbravka, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka, Ronaldo. The latter one will certainly be expected to play from the first minutes. Will he score the first goal of the season?
Don`t miss out 👉: Most expensive playing XI of the summer transfer window
There was a lot of speculation over the summer surrounding the fading star. The Portuguese, who was desperate for the Champions League and did not want to miss out on playing in it for the first time in 20 years, will probably settle for playing in a second-tier European competition after all.
However, there is also something pleasant in this – to remember the old days, to try to rectify the mistakes of the past. After all, at the dawn of his career, the forward with Sporting were knocked out of the UEFA Cup – now the Europa League – by Partizan Belgrade.
Oh, and victory in the tournament is not guaranteed at all, as another major challenger, the same Arsenal, will try to prevent the Mancunians from adding the trophy to their assets. The experienced forward, who has become the UCL top scorer numerous times, could prove instrumental in this regard.
Real Sociedad News & Current Form:
The Basques have become a consistent participant in the European competitions in recent years. Quite often they manage to go far and their journey ends in the spring at the play-offs stage. In other words, they never find themselves at the bottom of the group. This, alongside continuous successful performances in the Primera, has made Real Sociedad recognisable and dangerous. Admittedly, it is difficult to see progress in recent years. The team has reached a certain level, maintains it, but there is no opportunity to grow further.
While Ten Hag is reveling in the number of stars in the team, his colleague Imanol Alguacil is puzzled over who to patch up the squad. Almost before the transfer window closed, the club lost their star forward Alexander Isak. The Swede is now at Newcastle and has already scored against Liverpool in his first game. They have had to re-sign Sörloth in a hurry and give €20m for Sadiq Umar (Almeria’s top scorer). Both are unequivalent replacements for the Swede. At the start of the season, for sure.
Another problem for the visitors is the loss of the team’s other hero, Mikel Oyarzabal, who tore his cruciate ligament at the beginning of spring and has yet to return to action. Mikel is far more important to Sociedad than Isak, since there is no-one else on the team with a comparable level of talent. In that regard, forget David Silva, who is just finishing his career at Real, long ago not demonstrating his former level.
Sociedad’s main losses were primarily in the attacking line but, despite this, they consistently scored one goal per game at the start of the season. This is certainly not enough, but the chances created were enough to look to the future without fear and without expecting total failure. So far only 9th in La Liga with two wins, a defeat and a draw, with the last match against the formidable Atletico becoming an encouraging one (1-1). Once again, it became clear that Real would not let anyone get away uncscrathed.
Manchester United form guide (all comp.): L-L-W-W-W-W
Real Sociedad form guide (all comp.): W-L-W-D
Manchester United vs Real Sociedad Head-To-Head Record:
|Manchester United||Draw||Real Sociedad|
Real Sociedad is a familiar opponent for MU. In their four games against the Brits, the Basques have failed to score a single goal. The teams first met in the Champions League group stage in 2013. At the time, the Red Devils won the group and reached the quarter-finals, where they suffered a defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich. But that was a long time ago, after all.
The second pair of matches, on the other hand, is still fresh in the memory. The season before last, the teams met in the Europa League 1/16 finals. The first leg put everything in place when the visiting Mancunians scored four unanswered goals. In the return leg they calmly defended a zero draw at home. After that, the Mancunians reached the final and lost to Villarreal only on penalties.
Manchester United vs Real Sociedad Predicted XI:
Manchester United possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Dubravka; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Casemiro, Fred; Antony, Fernandes, Elanga; Ronaldo.
Real Sociedad possible starting lineup (4-1-2-1-2): Remiro; Gorosabel, Zubeldia, Elustondo, Munoz; Mendez, Zubimendi, Merino; Silva; Sadiq, Sorloth.
Statistical preview of the match Manchester United vs Real Sociedad:
- Manchester United’s winning streak now stands at four games;
- Three of the last four games of Real Sociedad have seen a total less that 2.5;
- All games at the Old Trafford have seen the exchange of goals;
- The Blue-Whites have won all their away games this season;
- Real Sociedad have failed to produce a single goal in their personal encounters with MU;
- Manchester United have never lost to Real Sociedad (2 wins, 2 draws).
What has been said before the match:
Erik ten Hag, the Manchester United gaffer:
“We have to win every game. And we want to win every tournament so we have to take everything seriously. We not only have a team, we have a squad, that’s clear. But we have to win every game. That is the mentality that Manchester United needs.”
“Maybe I cannot keep them [the players] all happy every game but everyone gets their game-time if they perform well, it’s quite clear. But what I say, we need everyone – we have a lot of games to cover. There is a lot coming in front of us, and the national teams of course – the World Cup – but also all of the cups in England. The Europa League, where we are now getting in, and, of course, the Premier League.”
Imanol Alguacil, the Real Sociedad gaffer:
“They are a Champions League team. We are not going to fool ourselves because of their history, the squad they have, the way they play and the coach they have, but they have to show it on the pitch and of course we are going to do everything possible to neutralize them… but we have to give our best”.
“What we usually try to do, go for the opposition, don’t speculate, show personality and be the ones to take the initiative. What happens is that we’re up against an opponent who also likes to do that. If we can do that, I’m happy. But I’m going to be honest, I wouldn’t like to draw without being able to get out of our own area, to be trapped, and for them to have 30 chances. I’d rather lose, but seeing a team that has played or tried to do everything they do every game, everything they do in training, that tries to do it regardless of the opponent they have in front of them, which in this case is one of the best”.
“There is no other way to beat another team like Manchester. I have no doubts. You always have to be brave, but if you want to win in a stadium like this and against an opponent like this, either you are brave or you have very few chances of winning and those chances come down to a little bit of luck. This team and I don’t play to be lucky, we play to win.”
Manchester United vs Real Sociedad Prediction:
Although Real Sociedad represent a tough mid-table side in Spain and are even in contention for a place in the European competitions year after year, they are not at their best at the moment. A large number of injuries, plus the loss of key players (including free agent departure Adnan Januzaj) are leaving the Basque side destined for imminent rebuilding and stagnation.
MU, in their turn, seem to be on the rebound, with the newcomers slowly finding their feet and starting to bring some good results. A few good games by the Mancunians give us hope that the crisis has passed, and that the team will play at the expected level. Ronaldo, Casemiro and the other top names will take to the pitch with glowing eyes, for Alguacil’s squad it is not currently possible to battle with such stars on level terms. Although, according to the head coach, he is pushing his men to fight, to play brave football.
Parimatch News staff prediction:
We say: both teams to score and Man Utd will not lose – Yes.