Real Sociedad vs Man Utd: Europa League match preview, predicted lineups, quotes, form, injuries and how to watch

We preview Man Utd's Matchday 6 clash against Real Sociedad in Group E of the Europa League.

By Callum Rice-Coates Published: 1 November 2022 - 8.26pm

When and where to watch Real Sociedad vs Man Utd

Real Sociedad vs Manchester United kicks off at 5.45pm on Thursday 3 November.

You can watch all the action from 5.15pm exclusively live on BT Sport 1.

Watch Real Sociedad vs Man United in the Europa League

See Manchester United battle it out for top spot in Group E as they travel to top-of-the-table Real Sociedad. Watch all the action and more for just £25 a month with no contract. 

 

Real Sociedad vs Man Utd match preview

Manchester United head into the last matchday of the Europa League group stages needing a win by two goals or more to finish top, above Thursday night’s opponents Real Sociedad.

Qualification for the knockout stages was secured with victory over Sheriff last week, but there is now a clear advantage to progressing as group winners.

The team in second will play an extra knockout round play-off over two legs against one of the teams demoted from the Champions League group stages, an outcome United will hope to avoid.

Erik ten Hag’s side, then, must beat Real Sociedad in Spain on Thursday night and better the scoreline from the reverse fixture at Old Trafford - a 1-0 defeat - to finish top by virtue of their head-to-head record.

That doesn’t seem like an impossible task given United’s form in recent weeks and the ever-growing confidence of a team that began the season in transition.

Aside from the ongoing discussion around Cristiano Ronaldo’s place at the club, all appears to be well at Old Trafford. It’s been an impressive turnaround given the mood after back-to-back defeats to Brighton and Brentford kicked off the season.

Sociedad have put themselves in pole position to progress straight into the last 16 of the Europa League, winning all five of their matches in Group E so far.

But their stuttering domestic form and United’s renewed self-belief could swing the pendulum the way of the visitors.

Real Sociedad vs Man Utd predicted lineups

Real Sociedad:

Man Utd:

Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Sociedad vs Man Utd: Injuries and suspensions

Real Sociedad are without Mikel Oyarzabal, Alex Sola, Umar Sadiq, Aihen Munoz, Ander Barrenetxea and Martín Merquelanz, all out injured.

United have relatively few injuries to contend with, although Anthony Martial is believed to be close to a return to training.

Raphael Varane is out until after the World Cup after suffering an injury in the recent draw at Chelsea.

Real Sociedad vs Man Utd: Form guide

Real Sociedad have lost their last two La Liga games, falling to a 2-0 home defeat against Real Betis on Sunday. That followed a 1-0 defeat at Valladolid the previous weekend.

This mini-slump has seen Imanol Alguacil’s side drop to fifth in the Spanish top flight after an impressive start to the season.

There have been no such issues in the Europa League, with a 2-0 victory over Omonoia last week extending Sociedad’s 100% record in the competition this season.

Before their loss to Valladolid, the Basque outfit had won eight successive games in all competitions.

United, meanwhile, are on an eight-match unbeaten run since their 6-3 humbling in the Manchester derby at the start of October.

Ten Hag’s side have conceded just one goal in their last six in all competitions, winning four and drawing two of those fixtures.

Real Sociedad vs Man Utd: Last time they met

As Ten Hag was keen to point out, a “crazy” penalty proved costly when Real Sociedad visited Old Trafford in early September.

A controversial decision from referee Marco Di Bello, who adjudged Lisandro Martinez to have handled the ball in the box, allowed Brais Mendez to convert from the spot just before the hour mark.

There was no response from United, who had seen a Ronaldo header disallowed in the first half.

He said what?!

Erik ten Hag has insisted his team are ready for the challenge of beating Real Sociedad by two goals:

"We know what we have to do in Real Sociedad: we have to win there with two goals difference. We have to score two goals, minimum, and don't concede one.

"The first game, we lost, crazy penalty. So we have to deal with that crazy penalty, we have to turn [it] around, so that demands a big performance there, demands a winning attitude."

Erik ten Hag

Real Sociedad vs Man Utd: Players to watch

Mendez has been Sociedad’s standout performer this season, scoring seven goals and providing three assists from midfield.

His ability to drive forward from deep, to create chances and finish them off, has been a key part of his side’s success in the Europa League so far.

Casemiro will need to continue his strong form to keep Mendez quiet as United seek another clean sheet.

Alexander Sorloth has also caught the eye this season, leading the line for Sociedad having returned for a second year on loan from RB Leipzig.

The former Crystal Palace forward provides a physicality and focal point in attack, creating space for the likes of Mendez.

Real Sociedad vs Man Utd: Key stats