Manchester United Get An Easy Europa League Draw

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Manchester United’s poor last season means the Red Devils are yet again missing out on the Champions League football. The team played their worst Premier League campaign since its inception in 1992 and it was no wonder the Devils had to satisfy themselves with the second tier UEFA competition. It is not what the fans wanted, it is not what the club wanted, but it is now reality. And this Friday, we have learned which teams Erik ten Hag’s side will face in the next two months.

Manchester United were drawn in Europa League Group E with Real Sociedad from Spain, Sheriff Tiraspol from Moldova and Omonia from Cyprus. It is an intriguing and yet easy group for Man United, as we will see. United will play these three rivals between the first week of September and first week of November, as the UEFA competition group stages will be more hectic than usual, finishing a month earlier than what is usually the case. This is because everything has to be done before the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which will be held in November and December.

So here is what you need to know about Manchester United’s Europa League rivals.

Pot 2 – Real Sociedad

Manchester United were, expectedly, in Pot 1 at the Europa League draw this Friday as one of the teams with the highest UEFA coefficient and from Pot 2, they were drawn in the group with Real Sociedad. The Spanish side finished in sixth place in La Liga last season, meaning their immediate qualification for the group stages of Europa League. They are an interesting side with mostly domestic players, with the likes of Asier Illarramendi, Mikel Oyarzabal and, of course, former Manchester City star David Silva. They will be fighting with United for the top spot, which means one knockout round less next spring.

Pot 3 – Sheriff Tiraspol

Man United will travel to Moldova, but will not play Sheriff in Tiraspol. This is because of the ongoing war in Transnistria, part of Moldova which wants to get its independence. Sheriff played recently against Pyunik in Chisinau instead, the capital of Moldova and this is where United could play too. Last season, Sheriff were shockingly good, reaching Champions League and beating Real Madrid in the group stages. But this season they are far from that level, just barely edging out Pyunik from Armenia on penalties.

Pot 4 – Omonia Nicosia

Omonia faced Belgian side Gent in the Europa League play-off and they surprised everyone with two 2-0 victories. Gent were the favourites and expected to go through, but the Cypriot side reached the group stages quite comfortably. They will not be expected to do that much in a group with Man United and Real Sociedad, but getting points off of any of those two clubs could heavily impact the final standings.

Man United will be the favourites to win this group and they should do their best to make that happen. First place in the group means they will not have to play in February play-off knockout round stage against one of the eight third-placed Champions League clubs. They will go straight to the round of 16 and in such a dense calendar this season, skipping those two games would be very useful.

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