United Briefing: Which side should Ole play on Thursday?

Tuesday 23 February 2021 08:00

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a few selection choices to make this week ahead of the second leg of our Europa League last-32 encounter with Real Sociedad.

With the Reds holding a 4-0 advantage from the away meeting last week, the boss could be tempted to rest a few players, especially as we face a huge Premier League encounter against Chelsea just three days later.

However, Ole has emphasised the importance of not taking anything for granted ahead of Thursday’s clash and reiterated how much quality La Real have in their ranks. So which side should the boss pick? Should he rest and rotate, select his strongest XI, or somewhere in-between?

While Ole may already know which team he’ll pick, we certainly don’t, and our some of our writers have given their thoughts on the XI they’d start with against Real Sociedad… 

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...

Michael Plant – Editorial Assistant

You can never underestimate Spanish sides even after our convincing away win last week. I remember Deportivo La Coruna famously eliminating European champions AC Milan in 2004 despite suffering a heavy first-leg loss, and we know crazy things can, and often do, happen in football. Despite that, Ole definitely has an opportunity to rotate some of his big hitters with such a busy schedule coming up. Personally, I would give Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford a little break, but start Bruno Fernandes given we’re light in the central areas at present. It would also be great to see Amad or Shola Shoretire given a run out after both made their respective first-team debuts last week.

Michael’s XI: Henderson; Williams, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Telles; Fred, Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes, James; Martial.

Adam Marshall – Contributing Editor

While we don’t want any complacency and Ole has already stated he won’t start youngsters Amad and Shoretire, the big Chelsea game looms large and I would definitely keep some regulars fresh for Stamford Bridge. It’d be great to see Joe Hugill rewarded for his Under-23s form with a place on the bench and there are other members of Neil Wood’s squad who will be having their fingers crossed just in case.

Adam’s XI: Henderson; Williams, Tuanzebe, Bailly, Telles; Matic, van de Beek; Greenwood, Mata, James; Martial.

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Tunnel Insider: United 3 Newcastle 1

Our round-up of exclusive match reaction features Shola Shoretire, following his debut against the Magpies...

Sam Carney – Contributing Editor

With the groundwork laid in Turin and tough Premier League trips to Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Manchester City on the horizon, this is a real chance to give some of United’s most utilised players a much-needed break – an opportunity which may not arise again as the season enters its crunch final phase. If Donny van de Beek is fit to play, I’d start the Dutchman alongside either Fred or Nemanja Matic in midfield, with this being the only real area in which Ole is short at the moment, given the injuries to van de Beek, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay. Elsewhere, I’d like to see Amad make his full debut, Juan Mata in the no.10 position and Mason Greenwood leading the line.

Sam’s XI: Henderson; Williams, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Telles; Fred, Matic; Amad, Mata, James; Greenwood.

Match Quiz: Newcastle (H)


We've got 10 tough questions about our victory over the Magpies ⚫⚪


After we've dealt with all the reaction to Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Newcastle United, the Reds’ attention quickly turns to the Europa League game in midweek.

We’ll be hearing from Dean Henderson and Rashford ahead of the game, two players who started the excellent victory in Turin.

Our match preview will round up all the essential pre-match information, while there’s another United Quiz to keep your eyes out for.

United Daily: Back to winning ways Video

United Daily: Back to winning ways

Ole and three players summarise United 3 Newcastle 1, while we crunch Dan James's numbers...


Shoretire, Rashford and Solskjaer gave their post-match reactions following the win over Newcastle, while Dimitar Berbatov weighed in on the debate about who our Man of the Match against the Magpies was.

We also brought you an update on how the government’s latest COVID-19 announcement could affect fans returning to Old Trafford and there was bad news for Women’s star Leah Galton, who has picked up an ankle injury.

The latest UTD Podcast episode also went live at 17:00 GMT and this week features United great Clayton Blackmore.