Prediction and odds for the game: Real Sociedad (11/5) vs Manchester United (11/10)
We fancy the draw at odds of 13/5
When: Thursday, 18th February 2021, Kick-off 18:00
Where: The Allianz Stadium
On Thursday evening Real Sociedad and Manchester United clash in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie. It could be one of the more interesting matches in the last-32.
The team from San Sebastian have certainly enjoyed a rollercoaster campaign. Imanol Alguacil team were early league leaders in La Liga before a downturn in fortunes saw La Real plummet down the table.
However, back-to-back wins over Cadiz and Getafe suggest that Real Sociedad’s form has now once again turned for the better. Two players that have shown this season are youth product Mikel Oyarzabal and Swedish forward Alexander Isak, who have ten and nine goals respectively in La Liga. However, neither player has shone in the Europa League, as of yet.
The Spanish outfit are unbeaten in four games in the Europa League, although their last three matches have all finished all-square. Their matches in European football’s secondary competition have been low-scoring, with under 2.5 goals scored in five of their last six matches.
The fact that this game is being played at a neutral venue may well work in La Real’s favour, as they have won just one of their previous five European games at the Reale Arena.
It seems that the Premier League title is now escaping Manchester United after the Red Devils fell seven points behind arch city rivals Manchester City. United may now be looking over their shoulders at the chasing pack behind them after two straight league draws. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team have now won just one of their last six games in all competitions over 90 minutes.
United are taking part in the Europa League after dropping out of the Champions League on gameweek six. The Red Devils started their European campaign so well, only to lose their last two group games to exit the competition.
United took part in the Europa League last season, exiting the competition at the last-16 stage, suffering a 2-1 defeat at the hands of eventual winners Sevilla. The loss ended a six-game unbeaten run for the men from Manchester in the Europa League. This is by no means an easy tie for Solskjaer’s team.
Manchester United are certainly the favourites to win this first leg clash. However, United may be facing Real Sociedad at a bad time, as the Spanish team are improving, while the Red Devils are not in the most convincing form. We are backing the draw, though, as we believe it could a relatively even match.
The other bet we are backing is Aleksander Isak to be an anytime goalscorer. The young Swedish striker has scored in his last five league games. With United looking poor in defence of late, Isak could well profit.
Verdict: We are backing the draw at odds of 13/5 and/or Alexander Isak to be an anytime goalscorer at odds of 21/10. (All odds are taken from Bet365).
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Who will gain the upper hand in this last-32 first-leg clash?