It has been a long time since Manchester United have had a match coming up that literally means nothing. That is the case as United host Real Sociedad on Thursday at Old Trafford.
Thanks to their 4-0 drubbing in the first match, United have essentially secured advancement In the Europa League. Granted, they can’t lose by 5 goals on Thursday.
Match Build Up
Manchester United have won just one of their last nine home matches against Spanish opponents (D4 L4), failing to score in their last two. That one win came against Real Sociedad in the UEFA Champions League group stages in 2013-14.
Real Sociedad remain winless in their three matches with Manchester United across all competitions (D1 L2), with their 0-4 defeat in the first leg their heaviest European defeat in a game considered a home match.
Manchester United are unbeaten in 14 UEFA Europa League matches at Old Trafford (W12 D2) since losing 3-2 to Marcelo Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao in 2011-12.
Real Sociedad’s David Silva has enjoyed six wins in eight previous visits to Old Trafford in all competitions (L2), having a direct hand in five goals (3 goals, 2 assists). Indeed, since his first appearance there in February 2011, no player within the top five European leagues has enjoyed more away victories at the Theatre of Dreams.
United Team News
Expect a lineup like we never have seen for this match. This match could be an ideal time to give Shola Shoretire and Amad Diallo their first starts for the club. Both players have made late cameos in the last couple of games.
We would expect that Juan Mata would probably start ahead of Shoretire. But if Solskjaer really wants to take an experimental approach, he would go with the youngsters. There might be an opportunity to throw a couple of other youngsters onto the bench too. Hannibal Mejbri, Ethan Galbraith and even Joe Hugill are outside shots.
Doubts remain over whether midfielders Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek plus forward Edinson Cavani will be fit enough to feature.
Van de Beek and Cavani have been missing since before last Thursday’s trip to Turin, while McTominay picked up an issue in Italy which led to him missing Sunday’s 3-1 win over Newcastle.
Paul Pogba and Phil Jones will definitely sit it out.