Match preview: United v Real Sociedad

Tuesday 23 February 2021 11:31

Manchester United host Real Sociedad in the second leg of the Europa League’s last-32 stage, on Thursday.

The Reds will be strong favourites to progress to the round of 16, having secured a convincing 4-0 win in last week's opening game.

Here's everything you need to know about the return of European football to Old Trafford...


Despite last Thursday’s opening leg taking place in Turin, rather than San Sebastian, due to travel restrictions imposed by the Spanish government, this game will be played in Manchester. As with all knock-out games in European competition in 2020/21, the tie is being contested over two legs and includes VAR and the away-goals rule, which is applicable if the teams are level on aggregate after 180 minutes.

Should the sides also be level on away goals, the tie will be determined by 30 minutes of extra-time and, if needed, penalties. Teams are also able to make up to five substitutes in Europa League games this season.

Highlights: Real Sociedad 0 United 4 Video

Highlights: Real Sociedad 0 United 4

It was a four-midable display from the Reds in the first leg of our last-32 Europa League tie...


The game kicks off at 20:00 GMT on Thursday evening and will be broadcast live in the UK via BT Sport. You can also follow the action via and our Official App, where you’ll be able to enjoy live, in-game data through our Match Centre. MUTV will be providing build-up, live radio commentary and post-match reaction, and will show full reruns of the 90 minutes from the following day. The Match Day Live show on the channel starts at 18:55 GMT.


United ran out 4-0 winners at Juventus’s Allianz Stadium, with Bruno Fernandes breaking the deadlock midway through the first half. The Portuguese midfielder, who was this competition’s top scorer in 2019/20, added another after the interval, as the Reds started to find joy on the counter-attack against the Basque outfit. Marcus Rashford latched on to Fred’s pass to make it three, before Daniel James added further gloss in injury-time. Amad, our January signing from Atalanta, also made his senior Reds debut in Turin.


La Real recovered from their heavy defeat in Italy as they returned to domestic action on Sunday. A hat-trick from Swedish forward Alexander Isak helped Imanol Alguacil’s side to a 4-0 hammering of Alaves, for whom on-loan United winger Facundo Pellistri appeared for the first time. Portu, who was introduced as a late substitute in Turin, scored Real Sociedad’s fourth and final goal of the afternoon. Here's the side that played, as our guests on Thursday moved to within six points of fourth-placed Barcelona:

Remiro; Gorosabel, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Monreal; Silva (Merquelanz 80), Illarramendi (Guevara 57), Merino (Guridi 66); Porto, Isak (Bautista 65), Oyarzabal (Januzaj 80).

What's in the Real Sociedad programme?


You can now order United Review for the Reds' clash with the Basque outfit.


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, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Amad and Shola Shoretire will be in the squad, but probably not start. 

Harry Maguire will miss United’s next match in the competition if he is booked, and we progress. Robin Le Normand will have to miss out for the visitors as he is suspended, while Luca Sangalli is a long-term absentee with a knee injury.


The draw for the last 16 of the competition takes place in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday 26 February. It will be a free draw, with no restrictions on who each side can face.

Scroll down to see how the other 30 teams in the competition got on in their first legs, and when they’re playing this week…

United Briefing: Ole’s European selection dilemma


Our writers discuss whether the boss should rest and rotate on Thursday or play his strongest-possible XI.



Tottenham v Wolfsberger (4-1)



Ajax v Lille (2-1)
Arsenal v Benfica (1-1)
Hoffenheim v Molde (3-3)
Rangers v Royal Antwerp (4-3)
Napoli v Granada (0-2)
Shakhtar Donetsk v Maccabi Tel Aviv (2-0)
Villarreal v Salzburg (2-0)


AC Milan v Red Star Belgrade (2-2)
Bayer Leverkusen v Young Boys (3-4)
Club Brugge v Dynamo Kiev (1-1)
Dinamo Zagreb v FC Krasnodar (3-2)
Leicester v Slavia Prague (0-0)
UNITED v Real Sociedad (4-0)
PSV Eindhoven v Olympiacos (2-4)
Roma v Braga (2-0)

Don't forget to order your copy of United Review, the official matchday programme for the Real Sociedad game.