Manchester United travelled to Spain to face Real Sociedad in the final Group E game of the UEFA Europa League. The English side headed into the bout with the aim of topping the group. United needed to secure a win with a two-goal margin to qualify for the next round at the top of the table.
The 20-time Premier League champions travelled to Spain without Antony, Anthony Martial, and Jadon Sancho among their ranks. Despite the absences, the match looked set to be an enticing Europa League clash.
Manchester United Player Ratings Following Win Against Real Sociedad
From Moldova to Cyprus to Spain.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 3, 2022
David de Gea Provided a Solid Performance While Cristiano Ronaldo Lacked Potency
Despite the 1-0 win, United will feel hard done by the result. The margin means that the Red Devils will enter a playoff stage against the third-placed sides in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League. Erik ten Hag set the team up in the latter stages of the game in his 3-1-4-2 formation to maximize the attacking prowess, even bringing on Harry Maguire as a striker.
The game hung in the balance till the final 10 minutes or so, however, Sociedad managed to hang on to the scoreline to ensure an easy passage into the Round of 16.
David de Gea put in another good performance, along with the rest of the defence, to ensure a clean sheet. Alejandro Garnacho scored his first senior team goal with the help of an assist from Cristiano Ronaldo. It signalled the metaphorical passing of the torch, while the legendary striker was quick to congratulate the young star.
The player ratings for the game are as follows:
David de Gea: 5
De Gea made a crucial double save in the 44th minute to ensure that United stayed in the game. He did not have much to do in the rest of the encounter but was effective when called upon. Distribution, an often criticized aspect of his game, while not productive, was also not terrible.
Victor Lindelof – 4
Lindelof replaced Harry Maguire in the heart of defence alongside Lisandro Martinez. The pair were stable in repelling Sociedad’s attacks while securing a clean sheet. Lindelof, in particular, was stellar with his positioning and made sure to counter the threat of the Spanish side.
Lisandro Martinez – 6
The Argentinian proved once again why Ten Hag relies on him with an iron-clad determination. He was a stalwart in defence and provided a steady passageway for transitions from defence to attack. Martinez was also instrumental in breaking Sociedad’s press and giving a clear line to both Casemiro and Luke Shaw to advance United’s attacks.
Diogo Dalot – 5
The right-back was reliable as usual and showcased his most promising quality, attack. Despite getting a yellow card for his hot-headedness, Dalot provided a great channel through the right and advanced United’s attacks well.
Luke Shaw – 6
Luke Shaw proves with each passing day that he is indeed one of the best players in the Manchester United squad. Whether it is in attack or defence, the English international once again had a solid showing ahead of the world cup. With another great performance once again, he has possibly inserted himself into the ‘undroppable’ category.
Casemiro – 6
The former Real Madrid star has arguably been Ten Hag’s best acquisition in the summer alongside Martinez. Casemiro showcased a steely determination in the midfield and was instrumental in nullifying potentially threatening Real Sociedad attacks. He once again had a good game as he completed 82.1% of his passes.
Christian Eriksen – 5
It can be argued that Christian Eriksen perhaps had one of his weakest games in a United shirt since arriving at Old Trafford. The former Tottenham star did not look as threatening in attack as he usually does. Although the criticism may seem a bit harsh, it only comes because of the high standards he has set for himself.
Donny van de Beek – 2
Donny van de Beek’s lacklustre United career continues as he once again failed to make any mark on the game. He lacked potency in attack and was unwilling to help his teammates in defence. For most of the game, he looked lost on the pitch and failed to be a crucial supply line for United.
Bruno Fernandes – 4
Fernandes’ current form can be summed up by the cross he put out in the dying moments of the game. It was an overhit cross that landed beyond the by-line. Casemiro, who tried to get to the end of it, only managed to catch the cross with his hands.
The Portuguese lacked guile in today’s game and seemed out of touch playing on the right-hand side of the pitch. He was ineffective in attack and had zero attempts on goal.
Alejandro Garnacho – 6
The man of the hour in the game has to be the young Argentinian Alejandro Garnacho. It is no secret that the young star worships Cristiano Ronaldo and scored his first goal from Ronaldo’s pass.
Overall, Garnacho had a solid game where he left it all on the pitch. Whether it was in attack or tracking back to help out his teammates in defence, the Argentinian put in a good shift.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 5
Assessing Ronaldo’s performance is perhaps the most difficult one out of all members of the squad. While he provided the assist leading to Garnacho’s goal, the legendary footballer was pretty much ineffective throughout the game. The Portuguese international received a yellow card while also missing a one-on-one chance when he lobbed the ball over the keeper’s head ]onto the roof of the net.
It is safe to say that Ronaldo will have better days in a United shirt and his performance in today’s match perfectly sums up his current run of form.
Rating the Substitutes
Scott McTominay – 2
Harry Maguire – 2
Marcus Rashford – 3
Fred – 1
Erik ten Hag tried his best to make the match as attacking as possible. The most notable of all substitutions was Harry Maguire’s. While many expected the Manchester United captain to make his presence felt in defence, he stayed up the pitch acting as a striker. Whether fans will see more of this to come in the near future remains to be seen. However, it cannot be argued that it was an interesting tactic.
The other substitutions did not have a great showing in the match and were lackadaisical in their approach to the game. Although Marcus Rashford tried his best to get a goal, his performance did not bear any fruit.
Fred and McTominay also had poor outings as they failed to dominate the midfield in the closing stages of the match.
Performance Rating – 5
While the Red Devils did well to win away from him against a tough opposition in Sociedad, the result is overall disappointing. There is no telling who Manchester United will go up against in the Playoff ahead of the Round of 16, but the scoreline does not bode well for the English club.
Scored it 👇 Made it 👇 pic.twitter.com/sjIDxCnMA5
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 3, 2022