Real Sociedad v Manchester United: Europa League Preview
On Thursday, February 18th, Manchester United will head to Turin, Italy to face Real Sociedad of the Spanish Primera Division in a scintillating Europa League round of 32 matchup. The sides squared off against each other in the Champions League in 2013, United won and drew the other match. The game will be held in Turin due to COVID-19 restriction in Spain. UK residents are currently not allowed to fly by air to Spain.
This gives united an advantage that Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowledged in a press conference last week. “But when one game is at a neutral venue it’s a disadvantage, of course, for the team that doesn’t have the home game,’ said Solskjaer.
There was plenty of hype surrounding the Basque side before the season started, they finished 6th and added former Manchester City playmaker David Silva to a stable of great and upcoming players including former United man Adnan Januzaj. In a recent interview with ESPN, Januzaj said he is happy to play against his old team but he has a job to do.
“I’m really happy to go back there to see the people but once I’m on the pitch there will be no friends,” said the 26-year-old. Sociedad currently sit 5th place in La Liga, sixteen points behind 1st place Atletico Madrid and seven points behind 4th place Sevilla. Mikel Oyarzabal leads the teams in goals during the La Liga campaign with 10, followed by
Alexander Isak with 9. Adnan Januzaj has scored two and assisted two others for Sociedad this season. They boast one of the better defenses in La Liga this season only giving up 20 goals, the 4th best in the league. Sociedad clawed out of the group stage, only losing once to a tough Napoli side. The Basque side was not overly impressive drawing against and barely beating Croatian side Rijeka.
United’s title hopes took a shot at the weekend as they could only draw against relegation
threatened West Brom at the Hawthorns. An early Mbaye Diagne goal was cancelled out by a Bruno Fernandes equalizer before halftime. United had a shout at a penalty, but VAR overturned the call because Harry Maguire was in an offside position. The injury news comes at the expense of Paul Pogba still, today it was reported that Cavani and Van De Beek will also not travel due to muscle injury. Eric Bailly has been training and might feature for United. Lindelof was out muscled by Diagne on the goal at the weekend. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would hope to get a result this game to set up a comfortable game when
the sides meet again at Old Trafford, so expect a strong side against the Basque club.