It’s that time of year again and European football is officially back, with Manchester United on the road to take on Real Sociedad in the Europa League knockout stages.
When this draw was made back in December, it looked as though the Red Devils were in for a daunting night – heading to the Anoeta to take on La Liga leaders Sociedad.
What is the Sociedad vs Manchester Utd tip for today?
As it is, they’re instead heading to Turin (because of strict travel restrictions in Spain) to take on the Basque natives, who have picked up just 12 points in their 10 games since the draw was made.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side, on the other hand, have been in tremendous form since learning of their opponents – picking up 26 points in 13 Premier League games and advancing to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
They’ve also been one of the best away sides in English football’s top division too; they’ve earned 28 points in 12 unbeaten games away from home, scoring 25 times and conceding 13.
It’s no surprise then that, on a neutral field, the ‘home’ side are a chunky 11/5 to take a first leg league back to Old Trafford, whilst United are 6/5 and the draw is a reasonable 5/2.
Thankfully, I don’t see the fact that this game is technically an away game for both sides being an issue for the bet I have in mind – which is Both Teams to Score and Over 0 Cards for Real Sociedad at 20/21 with bet365.
La Reales have seen both sides score in seven of their last nine games (not failing to score in any), whilst United have had both teams find the net in 9 of their 12 away league games this season.
In fact, the Red Devils saw goals at both ends in five of their six Champions League group stage matcbes, including all three on the road.
As far as cards are concerned, Sociedad have picked up at least one booking in all but two of their 23 Liga games – with United’s opponents seeing at least one card in 11 of their 12 away games.
I also wouldn’t be surprised to see this one end all square (5/2 bet365). Four of United’s last six away games have ended in stalemates, while two of Sociedad’s three away Europa League games have been level at full-time.
This being a first leg, and with the travel involved for both sides in the middle of a gruelling season, it wouldn’t be a shock if we saw a fairly even game.