Manchester United will have to defy the history books to come away from Real Sociedad’s Anoeta Stadium with three points. The last time the Red Devils defeated a Spanish side on their own turf in European competition was back in 2002 when goals from David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy were enough to seal a first-leg quarter-final victory over Deportivo La Coruna.
Both sides have made stuttering starts to the new campaign – resulting in neither being in their respective division’s European places - but recent upturns in form for each have helped ease early-season concern.
On the back of United’s 3-1 win at Fulham last weekend, David Moyes will be hoping to continue a run of victories which has seen them defeat Norwich, Stoke and, of course, Sociedad.
That 1-0 success was the first time that the Red Devils had faced Jagoba Arrasate’s La Liga side but they will be wary of their poor record on Spanish soil.
Recent years have shown that ten points is usually enough to guarantee qualification to the next phase and, with seven to their name already, the English champions will be eager to get the job done as soon as possible.
Sociedad, on the other hand, already seem to be involved in a damage limitation job as three defeats have left them bottom of Group A with nothing to show for their troubles.
Manchester United 1-0 Real Sociedad, Old Trafford – Wed 23rd October 2013
If Manchester United fail to win, it will be their tenth game without victory away at Spanish opposition.
United have scored twelve goals (71% of their total) from open play this season, exactly the same amount as Sociedad.
It is only Sociedad’s third match against an English club. They lost the last of which at Old Trafford last month while the other two were 3-1 and 6-0 reverses against Liverpool in the two-legged 1975 Uefa Cup second round.
Sociedad 11/5 - Draw 23/10 - Manchester United 5/4
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