Manchester United Europa League Draw: Everything You Need to Know About Group E, Real Sociedad, Sheriff Tiraspol, and Omonia
Heading into the Manchester United Europa League draw, the 2022-23 season is yet another rebuilding year for the club. The Red Devils are back at it this season with a new manager in Erik ten Hag and new players such as Casemiro from Real Madrid, Christian Eriksen from Brentford, and Leandro Martinez and (soon) Antony from Ajax. The player they may no longer have soon is Cristiano Ronaldo.
As the superstar reaches the twilight of his career, Ronaldo is desperate to play Champions League football this season. That is something Manchester United can’t offer. The club is in the second-tier Europa league this season, and, as you will see below, it isn’t nearly as prestigious as UCL.
The Manchester United Europa League draw put the club in Group E along with Real Sociedad from Spain, Sheriff Tiraspol from Moldova, and Omonia from Cyprus. Here is everything you need to know about Man United’s path to the knockout stage.
Manchester United Europa League draw: Group E
Manchester United qualified for Europa League this season by finishing fifth in the English Premier League last year with 58 points. That was 13 points off the fourth and final Champions League spot and 35 points behind champions (and hated rival) Manchester City.
Manchester United’s 2022-23 Europa League Group E schedule looks like this:
- Matchday 1: Thursday, September 8, 3:00 pm ET, vs. Real Sociedad
- Matchday 2: Thursday, September 15, 3:00 pm ET, @ Sheriff
- Matchday 3: Thursday, October 6, 12:45 pm ET, @ Omonia
- Matchday 4: Thursday, October 13, 3:00 pm ET, vs. Omonia
- Matchday 5: Thursday, October 27, 3:00 pm ET, vs. Sheriff
- Matchday 6: Thursday, November 3, 1:45 pm ET, @ Real Sociedad
Here are the things you need to know about United’s opponents in Group E, Real Sociedad, Sheriff Tiraspol, and Omonia, after the Manchester United Europa League draw.
Manchester United vs. Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad is a 100-plus-year-old Spanish football club located in San Sebastian, a city in the northwestern Basque region, just over the border from France. The club has a solid history, winning two La Liga titles in the early 1980s and producing modern stars like Xabi Alonso, Antoine Griezmann, Claudio Bravo, and Carlos Vela.
The two players in this part of the Manchester United Europa League draw that fans will know are 25-year-old winger Mikel Oyarzabal, who’s been linked with several big-name clubs in the last few transfer windows, and Manchester City great David Silva.
With these two talents — along with promising youngsters Mohamed-Ali Cho and Takefusa Kubo — Real Sociedad will be United’s toughest test.
Manchester United vs. Sheriff Tiraspol
Sheriff Tiraspol plays in the Moldovan football league but is located in Transnistria, an unrecognized breakaway state on the Moldovan-Ukrainian border.
Regardless of what county Sheriff is located in, the team blasted onto the European scene in a huge way in 2021 after becoming the first-ever Moldovan team to make the Champions League.
Sheriff was supposed to be cannon fodder for its Group E opponents, Shakhtar Donetsk, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan. However, the team won its opener vs. Shakhtar Donetsk. Then, in one of the biggest upsets in UCL history, the side beat Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu 2-1.
The club ultimately finished third in the group and, after the success, lost a handful of key players and its coach for the 2022-23 season. You never know what could happen after last year, but the team isn’t quite as talented (or dangerous) as it was back then.
Manchester United vs. Omonia
Omonia plays in the top division of Cypriot professional football and won the Cypriot Cup last season. While the talent isn’t great, there are a few players that Man United fans might know. Adam Matthews (formerly of Sunderland), Fabiano (formerly of Porto), and former USMNT member Mix Diskerud headline this list.
The big draw here, though, is manager Neil Lennon. The former midfielder came up in the Manchester City youth system and had a distinguished career, mainly with Leicester City (1996-2000) and Celtic (2000-07).
After his playing career ended, Lennon managed Celtic on two different occasions, winning five league titles, four Scottish Cups, and a Scottish League Cup.
If any manager in Group E of the Manchester United Europa League draw knows how to draw up a game plan to flummox and fluster a team from the UK, it’s Lennon.
Predictions for UCL Group E
The predictions for the Manchester United Europa League draw of Group E shouldn’t be that hard. United should easily go through in first, and Real Sociedad will go through in second.
That said, Real Sociedad, Sheriff, and Omonia can all pull up an upset on the right night if United doesn’t at least bring its B+ game. So, Erik ten Hag and company better watch out on these coming Thursday nights.