The third matchday of the UEFA Champions League group stage continues on Wednesday, with Premier League champions Manchester United set to host last season's surprise package from La Liga, Real Sociedad.
United will be favourites with Sociedad yet to muster a point in the group stage, but the Red Devils' own stuttering form this term means it's far from a sure thing that a home win will be the outcome.
Despite Sociedad's woes, both domestically and in Europe so far this season, the group is tight enough that a single mistake from David Moyes and his side in this game might be enough to really put United under pressure—and put La Real back in the frame for qualification.
Shakhtar Donetsk and Bayer Leverkusen face off on Wednesday also. The Ukrainians lead the group with United on four points, with the German outfit one point behind in third.
Having already beaten Leverkusen at home, Moyes and United will be confident of doing the same against Sociedad. But they have to beware a team who returned to winning ways at the weekend and who have a number of hugely talented attackers to call upon.
Real Sociedad had only won once in their opening eight La Liga matches this season, but they impressively beat Valencia 2-1 at the Mestalla on Saturday. Despite that poor start, they've won just one fewer game in Spain's top-flight than United have managed in England, with United also winning just once in the league at home so far.
In Antoine Griezmann and Carlos Vela, Sociedad have two quality attackers who are capable of finding a route through the best defences to goal.
Moyes has seen his team concede at a rate of more than one goal per game in the Premier League and in the Champions League so far. He must be wary of allowing those two in particular the time and space to have an impact, even on the counter-attack.
Sociedad have struggled with the demands of playing twice weekly; United, on the other hand, are well accustomed to this by now.
It should be a United win if Moyes can choose the right supporting players to provide enough supply lines to the presumed front two of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. Three points here will put United in a strong position to qualify from the group stages, which would mark the first major milestone of Moyes' time as manager.
While suffering form in the Premier League is perhaps a natural consequence of the managerial change and can be overlooked for a spell, not getting out of a relatively straightforward Champions League group could only be looked at as failure.
Moyes and his side could well be in charge of Group A once again by the time the full-time whistle goes at Old Trafford on Wednesday, but the manager knows this is a game for him to get the big decisions right in his team selection.
Anything less than a win, with away trips to Spain and Germany to follow in the second half of the group stage, would amount to time for some serious worries within the United camp.
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