It’s not quite clear how seriously Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will take the Europa League this year, but even United’s strongest team will have a tough time after being drawn against Real Sociedad in the next round.
They’re currently top of La Liga and have a squad packed with talent, so there’s plenty of players for United to worry about, including some familiar faces:
Silva won’t need any introduction to United fans after spending ten seasons with Man City, but it was a surprise to many when he opted to move back to Spain to link up with Sociedad.
His goalscoring form has deserted him since returning to Spain with only one strike so far, but he still has that ability to control a game and cause so many issues with his movement as he drags defenders out of their position.
He’s a player that United would’ve been glad to see the back of when he left City in the summer, but now they’ll need to figure out how to stop him yet again.
Oyarzabal is the clear talisman of this team and the main player that United will need to keep quiet, but that won’t be an easy task at all.
He just doesn’t have any weaknesses to his game – He’s able to play anywhere across the midfield, his movement is excellent, he can unpick a defence and take chances himself, so he really is central to everything that Sociedad do.
Seven goals in eleven La Liga games demonstrates that he needs to be taken seriously as a goal scoring threat, and it won’t be a surprise if he’s the difference between the sides before being linked with a big money move to Old Trafford in the summer.
The Swedish striker is still only 21 so he’s trying to live up to that early potential that saw him move to Borussia Dortmund at such a young age.
He’s not actually that prolific for the Spanish side with only two goals in sixteen games so far this year, but he’s an absolute handful and it’s easy to see him getting some joy against the United defence.
If he scored goals he would actually be the complete striker because he’s blisteringly quick and strong in the air so he has all the tools to trouble a defence, especially one like United’s where every defender has one glaring weakness.
He’s got the pace to isolate Harry Maguire and the physicality to dominate Lindelof so it might be an idea to get Eric Bailly into the team to cover him, but that will only open up more space for the likes of Silva and Oyarzabal to exploit.
Januzaj isn’t one of the key players in this team but he’s a regular in the Europa League, while the unwritten law of players always scoring against their former clubs looks like a real danger here.
He’s capable of playing on either wing and has the ability to cut inside and score some spectacular goals so that could hurt his team if he’s trying too hard to prove a point, but it will be especially interesting to see how he fares if he plays in the game.
Sociedad were one of most difficult draws that United could’ve got at this stage, so it looks set to be a brilliant game.