Home » Manchester United set for Real Sociedad test in Europa League group stage

Manchester United set for Real Sociedad test in Europa League group stage

FC Sheriff and Cypriot club Omonia Nicosia are the other clubs in Group E

by Ayantan Chowdhury

Manchester United have been drawn in Group E and they will face La Liga side Real Sociedad, Moldovan outfit FC Sheriff and Cypriot club Omonia Nicosia.

This will be Erik ten Hag’s first continental challenge since taking over as United boss with all six group ties set to take place ahead of the break for the winter World Cup.

United had faced Sociedad back when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in charge and got the better of them in the Round of 32 stage.

Sheriff are famous for their victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages last season. Omonia will be a brand-new opponent for United.

The first game of the campaign will be on Thursday, September 8 with the next matchday arriving on September 15. United will also play on October 6, 13 and 27 with the final group game scheduled for November 3.

Such a condensed schedule has been prepared due to the World Cup in November. The final of the competition will be on May 31, 2023 at the Puskas Arena Park in Budapest, Hungary.

United were runners-up in the competition in 2020-21 under Solskjaer while they had triumphed back in the 2016-17 season under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho.

The Red Devils will have to keep their eye on the ball right from the word go due to the current format which incentivizes finishing top in the group.

If United do end up runners-up in their group, they will have to go through an extra round this time around. The extra play-off knockout round will feature the eight teams who finished third in their Champions League group and dropped down to the Europa stage.

Home and away legs for this will be played on February 16 and 23. Should United finish as group winners, they will immediately progress through to the last 16, which will take place on March 9 and 16.

The quarterfinals are played on April 13 and 20 with the semifinals almost a month later on May 11 and 18.

Both Ten Hag and Manchester United would have preferred to be at Thursday’s Champions League draw but instead they had to be content with a place in the Europa League draw.

The Red Devils qualified for the competition after finishing a lowly 6th in the Premier League last season,

Due to being in the same pot, United were already guaranteed to not face fellow Premier League club Arsenal while Serie A heavyweights Roma were also avoided.

The 32 teams were drawn into eight groups of four teams, one club from a pot in each group, and no two teams from one country could be in the same group.

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