Manchester United vs Real Sociedad
UEFA Champions League – Wednesday 23rd October, 2013 (19:45 KO BST) – Old Trafford, Manchester
David Moyes ahead of the game: “I feel that this is an important one for us. If we could win this one, it would give us a strong position in the group. We have to go out there and take advantage of the home game and try to get a result.”
After missing the weekend draw with Southampton, defenders Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic remain slight doubts, but could feature.
“Vida and Rio are making good progress,” said Moyes.
Late checks will also be made on the fitness of Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck.
“Danny Welbeck has a little bit of an injury from the Southampton game so we’ll have to see how he is. Tom Cleverley isn’t as bad as we thought. They both have a chance,” David Moyes said of the pair.
Adnan Januzaj could make his European debut having joined the United’s Champions League ‘B’ list.
“Januzaj is available. He’s an exciting young player and he’s making good progress all the time,” the manager added.
Darren Fletcher took part in training but is still a long way off featuring in the first team.
Anderson and Fabio played for the U21s on Monday night and will therefore probably not feature.
Left out on Saturday, the likes of Javier Hernandez, Shinji Kagawa and Antonio Valencia will all hope to be involved.
“He will play a lot of games before the end of the season,” Moyes said of Chicharito.
Predicted line-up: De Gea, Rafael, Jones, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa, Rooney, van Persie
Group A so far: P2 W1 D1 L0 F5 A3 Pts4
La Real captain Xabi Prieto on facing United: “I used to have an Eric Cantona shirt – he was my favourite player. They are a mythical club, one of the biggest in the world… It will be a beautiful thing to play against them.”
Prieto returned from a month-long injury lay-off at the weekend and will likely start at Old Trafford.
On-loan QPR midfielder Esteban Granero misses the match, and a sizeable chunk of the rest of the season, with a knee injury.
Manager Jagoba Arrasate will also be without defender Daniel Estrada.
Sociedad come into the game on the back of a 2-1 win away to Valencia.
They have, however, picked up only ten points from their opening nine La Liga fixtures.
Eight of the squad have played both Champions League matches so far. Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and defender Inigo Martinez have also started every league match this season.
Sociedad scored a solitary Champions League goal up this point – ex-Arsenal forward Carlos Vela the man to net it.
Currently sit bottom of Group A with two defeats from two matches played.
Predicted line-up: Bravo, Martinez, Gonzalez, Martinez, Bella, Bergara, Prieto, Vela, Zurutuza, Griezmann, Seferovic
Group A so far: P2 W0 D0 L2 F1 A4 Pts0
No previous meetings between the sides.
Referee: Bas Nijhuis (NED)
The 36-year-old official has taken charge of two Champions League matches so far this season, brandishing two yellow cards. In seven Dutch Eredivisie fixtures he has shown eighteen yellow cards and one red card, awarding two penalties.
Assistants: Rob van de Ven (NED), Charles John Schaap (NED)
Fourth Official: Hessel Steegstra (NED)
Should he feature, Wayne Rooney will make his 75th European appearance for Manchester United.
United have won 8, drawn 9 and lost 4 of 21 meetings with Spanish opposition at Old Trafford in all European competitions.
United have failed to keep a clean sheet in the last 9 games in the Champions League.
United have not scored more than 1 goal in the last 12 Champions League games against Spanish opposition, winning only 2 games in the process (v Barcelona in April 2008 and Valencia in September 2010).
Sociedad haven’t won in 9 Champions League (proper) matches.
United have scored 5 goals from just 6 shots on target in this season’s Champions League.
Score prediction: United 3-1 Real Sociedad