Real Sociedad vs Man Utd predictions: United can secure top spot
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Aidan Perkins
Spotlight
Erik ten Hag is looking to steer Manchester United to the top of Group E
Erik ten Hag is looking to steer Manchester United to the top of Group E

- Manchester United need to win by two goals or more to finish top of the group 
- Group E winners go through to last 16, second place secures place in knockout round play-offs 
- Recommended bet: Back Manchester United (-1 goal)

Manchester United need to beat Real Sociedad by two goals or more to be confirmed as Europa League Group E winners on Thursday.

Erik ten Hag's side are currently second in the group and take on the leaders in San Sebastian knowing at least a two-goal winning margin would see them finish top to seal a last-16 place and avoid taking part in the knockout round play-offs.

It would also secure revenge for their only defeat in the competition so far, a 1-0 Old Trafford success for the LaLiga club back in September that set Sociedad on their way to an impressive five-game winning streak in the group.

La Real are therefore in the driving seat to seal top spot and a place in the last 16, but it is far from an impossible task for the visitors to get the result they require, considering Imanol Alguacil's side come into the crucial tie on the back of a 2-0 home league defeat to Real Betis, while they also have mounting injury problems.

Team news

Sociedad have Mohamed-Ali Cho, Mikel Oyarzabal, Umar Sadiq, Ander Martin, David Silva, Ander Barrenetxea, Aihen Munoz and Takefusa Kubo all ruled out, while Alex Sola is rated as a major injury doubt.

Alexander Sorloth is expected to start up front, while Igor Zubeldia and Ander Guevara are pushing for a place in the XI.

Raphael Varane, Axel Tuanzebe and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are unavailable for United, but Victor Lindelof has recovered from illness and Anthony Martial has also recently returned to training following a back injury.

Antony and Jadon Sancho did not train on Wednesday morning so they are both rated as doubts.

The stats

Real Sociedad have won all five of their group games so far, scoring 10 goals and conceding just once.

United responded to the opening home defeat against Thursday's opponents by beating the two weaker teams in the group, Omonia Nicosia and FC Sheriff, home and away.

Sociedad have lost their last two LaLiga games, going down 1-0 at Real Valladolid before the 2-0 home reverse against Betis last Sunday.

La Real are fifth in the Spanish top flight, 10 points behind leaders Real Madrid, with seven wins, one draw and four defeats on the board after 12 games played.

United are unbeaten in their last eight games in all competitions, winning six of them, and sit fifth in the Premier League, eight points adrift of Arsenal in top spot.

The Red Devils go to the Basque Country having scored in each of their last 12 Europa League matches away from home since October 2019, and they ran out 4-0 aggregate winners against Sociedad in the Europa League last-32 stage back in February 2021.

Prediction

Marcus Rashford has rediscovered his best form for Manchester United of late
Marcus Rashford has rediscovered his best form for Manchester United of late

Sociedad have beaten Omonia and Sheriff at home so far but taking on an in-form United with injuries of their own to contend with is a much tougher prospect.

Ten Hag's United side have only conceded two goals in their last seven matches and will approach the tie with plenty of confidence that they can get the job done going forward, while also continuing to keep things tight defensively.

The Red Devils were not at their best last time out when they edged past West Ham 1-0 in the league on Sunday, but they have enough attacking talent to win by at least two goals so back them with a -1 handicap at 3/1 with LiveScore Bet.

Marcus Rashford appears to be back close to his best again, with two goals in his last two games, while Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes, Antony, if he is passed fit, and Cristiano Ronaldo are among the other goal threats who could be vital on Matchday 6.

Tags

Real SociedadManchester UnitedEuropa League
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