Manchester United are through to the round of 16 of the Europa League. The Red Devils have finished off their job against Real Sociedad with a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, following a 4-0 beating of the Spanish side in Italy last week. This time, it was not such an interesting game and that is the best thing about the entire game – United did not need an interesting game in which they will spend too much energy. That is especially important having in mind Chelsea are the next opponents in the Premier League on Sunday.
Real Sociedad did have a penalty in this match early on to try and maybe make things a little bit more interesting, but nothing came of that, with United happy to go through without much fuss.
Tough Start Many Have Not Expected
It was not something Manchester United maybe expected, but it was good a strong team was on the pitch at the time. Many have expected Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to rotate even more than he did and give chance to some of the U-23s, but it turned out Real Sociedad’s strong start maybe could have complicated things in those first 20 minutes. The Spanish side was eager to make things happen right from the off and their best chance came even before the quarter hour mark, when Mikel Oyarzabal did not manage to get the ball on target from the penalty. After the opening 20 minutes, United settled into this match and everything was easier.
Bailly Has A Good Game
Harry Maguire finally got some much deserved rest and his place was taken by Eric Bailly. The Ivory Coast international was paired with Victor Lindelof and this time that partnership worked well. Bailly showed his run of form is improving and some of his moves proved to really important. He stopped Alexander Isak at one point, outpacing the Real Sociedad’s young star, getting in front of him and using muscles to win back the ball. Also, Lindelof had a good game, making a couple of important interceptions.
Youngsters Get Their Chance
Maybe there was expectation that more youngsters were to start the match, but it turned out Solskjaer wanted to fully respect the strength of Real Sociedad. That is why the youngsters had to wait for the second half to get on the pitch. Amad Diallo got another chance to come off the bench, featuring in the last 30 minutes of the game, getting a run on the right-wing. He was not the only one though, as Shole Shoretire made his Europa League debut with 15 minutes of play left.
Shoretire therefore became the youngest ever Man United player in European competition and every minute on the pitch will be valuable to both him and Diallo.
Man United Wait Next Opponent
Manchester United are through to the round of 16 of the Europa League and things will start to get a little bit more interesting. Here is the list of their potential rivals in the next round, as the draw is scheduled for Friday at noon: Molde, Ajax, Arsenal, Napoli, Rangers, Shakhtar Donetsk, Villarreal, Young Boys, Dynamo Kiev, Dinamo Zagreb, Slavia Prague, AC Milan, Tottenham, PSV Eindhoven and Roma.