Five things we learned as Manchester United draw 0-0 with Real Sociedad

Manchester United played out a 0-0 draw at home to Real Sociedad. The hard work was done last week and United win 4-0 on aggregate.

Here is a look at five things we learned from the game…

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Strong Sociedad start explains selection

When the Manchester United starting line-up was announced, there was outcry on social media asking why the side was so strong.

Obviously it wasn’t idea to start Bruno Fernandes instead of resting him, but United were out of alternatives, with Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek and Juan Mata all injured.

A strong start from Real Sociedad explained why Solskjaer went with Fernandes, rather than immediately turning to the under-23 players he had on the bench.

The Spanish side caused United problems during the opening 20 minutes in particular, missing a penalty along the way.

Getting through the first part of the game was crucial for United, and Solskjaer did not want a more inexperienced line-up to blow it. Sociedad’s competitive start underlined his concern.

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Eric Bailly’s pace is a difference maker

Eric Bailly’s strong run of form continued in this game and United just look so much better when he is on the pitch.

His partnership with Victor Lindelof was solid, with the Swede making an important interception in the first half.

The real defensive highlight came from Bailly. Alexander Isak looked to be through on goal before the United defender outpaced him and outmuscled him to win possession.

It makes such a difference to have pace in the defence. Whichever one of Lindelof and Maguire plays alongside him, he makes their job easier.

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Rashford on seemed a needless risk

United made three substitutions at half-time, giving Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams some much needed game time.

Bringing on Marcus Rashford seemed like a needless risk, however.

United were 4-0 up with 45 minutes to play, and fans were desperate to see Amad Diallo get a full half.

This was a game where Solskjaer could have been bolder with his team selection. Bringing Rashford on for this game felt very uninspired.

We understood Solskjaer probably wanted a leader on the pitch with Fernandes taken off and Rashford fitted the bill.

The England star played well and nearly scored from a free-kick after just two minutes.

The quality he brings is undeniable, United just didn’t really need him in a game which ended in a bore draw and had all the intensity of a testimonial.

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Diallo and Shoretire did get a good run out

Well if Amad Diallo didn’t get 45 minutes, at least he got 30.

Solskjaer brought him on at right-wing, with Brandon Williams behind him. This probably helped, as the pair linked up together on Diallo’s under-23s debut.

United’s new number 19 was joined by number 74 as Shola Shoretire made his Europa League debut with 15 minutes to go, becoming United’s youngest ever player in European competition.

United ended the game with an average age of just 23 on the pitch.

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Unlucky Axel

Axel Tuanzebe was asked to play an unusual role in midfield, and he didn’t look too out of place, in a game United had control over in the second half.

He scored his first ever goal for United too, heading in a corner, before it was ruled out.

Tuanzebe had teammate Victor Lindelof to thank, after a high jump saw him knee a Sociedad defender in the face.

It was probably the correct decision, and also typical of Tuaznebe’s luckless season.

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