Champions League Preview: Real Sociedad - Manchester United

Harry West
November 4, 2013
Champions League Preview: Real Sociedad - Manchester United

Real Sociedad will be fighting to keep its Champions League campaign alive when it hosts Manchester United on Tuesday.

Jagoba Arrasate's side failed to take a single point from its opening three Group A fixtures, with the most recent of its defeats coming at the hands of United, which won 1-0 at Old Trafford last month thanks to Inigo Martinez's own goal after 69 seconds - the fastest own goal in Champions League history.

That came on the back of a 2-0 home defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk on matchday one and a 2-1 loss at Bayer Leverkusen a fortnight later.

Sociedad's elimination will be confirmed if it loses Tuesday, or if it draws and Leverkusen wins in Ukraine in the group's other fixture. While the team has struggled in Europe, Sociedad has prospered recently in La Liga, winning three and drawing one of their last four matches - including a 5-0 thumping of Osasuna on Saturday.

United, meanwhile, sits on top of the pool, undefeated with seven points from its three games thanks to a 4-2 home win over Leverkusen and a hard-fought 1-1 draw in Donetsk before its success over the Basque outfit. If United wins, it will be its first European away victory since Nov. 7, and manager David Moyes knows the fixture will not be a simple task for his side.

"It will be a difficult game in Sociedad," he told reporters. "To go and play any team in Spain who have qualified for the Champions League would be a hard test. We'll go there and hopefully try and get a result which can continue our good form in the group."

United's most recent visit to Spain came in last year's round of 16 when it drew 1-1 with Real Madrid before losing the home leg 2-1 and being eliminated. Overall, United's away record against Spanish opposition is poor with just two wins, nine draws and 10 defeats from 21 matches.

Domestically, Moyes' side has improved in recent weeks after a shaky start, winning three and drawing one of its last four Premier League games. Saturday's 3-1 success at Fulham leaves United eighth, eight points behind leader Arsenal.

After the game at Craven Cottage, Moyes acknowledged he had a number of injury worries ahead of the trip to Anoeta.

"Rafael looks as if he might be the biggest doubt, going over on his ankle," the Scot said. "Tom [Cleverley] - hopefully the double vision will be okay in a day or two's time and Jonny [Evans], I couldn't tell you how his back would be."

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