Man United vs Real Sociedad: Europa League Group Stage Preview, Gameweek 1, 2022
An aerial view of Old Trafford stadium after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal FC at Old Trafford on September 04, 2022. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Manchester United host Real Sociedad in the opening round of fixtures in the Europa League on Thursday night. United's group - Group E - also contains Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol and Cypriot side Omonia Nicosia, who face each other in Moldova on the same night.

United come into this game beaming with confidence, after four straight wins in the Premier league and an impressive 3-1 victory at home to a very strong Arsenal side on Sunday. The result means that since their 4-0 thumping at the hands of Brentford on the 13th August, the Red Devils have scored seven and conceded just two goals in the four games since, leaving the whole club in fantastic spirits ahead of Erik ten Hag's opening European fixture in the dugout.

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Real Sociedad - or La Real - hail from the Spanish city San Sebastian in the Basque country. The visitors have had an steady start to their league campaign, sitting 9th after four games, earning seven points from with two wins, one draw, and a loss, although the games they have failed to win have come in the form of a loss to title hopefuls FC Barcelona and a draw at home to Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Team News

Manchester United

There are once again no new injury concerns for the Red Devils, with Anthony Martial still the only player currently on the sidelines.

Ten Hag will likely look to rotate the squad in what is a very busy period for all Premier League sides in the run to the upcoming World Cup in November.

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Recent signings Casemiro and debut star Antony will most likely feature as they look for more minutes and to improve their relationship and understanding with the team. Superstar number seven Cristiano Ronaldo could see his first start since the calamity at Brentford after a string of positive substitute appearances, with the likes of Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire also looking for their first match minutes since the 4-0 hammering against the Bees

Real Sociedad

Centre-back Robin Le Normand was the only fresh absentee from training this week as La Real prepare for their trip to Manchester.

Carlos Fernandez, Mikel Oyarzabal, Martín Merquelanz and former AFC Bournemouth left-back Diego Rico are all suffering with longer-term issues and therefore unavailable for selection for manager Imanol Alguacil.

Likely Lineups

Manchester United (4-3-3):

De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw, Casemiro, Fred, Fernandes, Antony, Elanga, Ronaldo

Real Sociedad (4-1-2-1-2 Diamond):

Remiro, Gorosabel, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Munoz, Zubimendi, Mendez, Merino, Silva, Cho, Kubo

Key Players

Manchester United - Antony

The Brazilian winger couldn't of wished for a better debut on Sunday after scoring the opener against old rivals Arsenal at a packed Old Trafford.

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The tricky 22-year-old won the hearts of the United faithful instantly with an impressive debut after his £82m transfer from previous club Ajax. The wide-man showed of an array of tricks and flicks on his favoured right-hand side, as well as some impressive link-up with his fellow forwards and right-back Diogo Dalot after just one group training session, all before his calm finish past an out-stretched Aaron Ramsdale.

Antony looked disappointed when removed on the 58th minute on Sunday, but it was most likely a wise decision at this stage from Ten Hag. The Brazilian most likely needs a few more minutes in the bank to reach full match fitness after a brief break from both playing and training whilst trying to force through the move from Ajax, so this European opener should be a great opportunity to do so away from the intensity of the Premier League.

Real Sociedad - David Silva

The legendary midfielder holds a cult status in Manchester, but certainly not on the red side. 

Silva played for United's bitter rivals Manchester City for ten years, winning their first ever Premier League title (followed by three more) and two FA Cups in a fantastic spell in blue before moving back to his homeland in 2020, the Spaniard also won both World Cup and European Championship with his country.

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Despite being past the peak of his powers at 36-years-old, Silva still plays a crucial role for La Real, playing at the tip of a midfield diamond with a vast amount of creative responsibility. Silva's creativity is crucial for the Spaniards going forward, particularly after losing their prolific Swedish forward Alexander Isak to Newcastle United for a fee believed to be in the region of £60m. La Real is a side that have struggled to score goals all season, scoring just four goals in their opening four league matches, however a return to England and particularly Old Trafford will also provide added motivation for Silva on his return to Manchester.

Match Details

The match kicks-off at 8pm on Thursday evening at a floodlight Old Trafford, with the game being shown live on BT Sport in the UK.

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