Cristiano Ronaldo will return, while Casemiro will make his first start for Manchester United against Real Sociedad on Thursday night.

Manchester United have managed to build some confidence and momentum with four consecutive victories, and they will be the favourites heading into the UEFA Europa League group stage tie against Real Sociedad on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Real Sociedad have been inconsistent in the last few outings and will need to improve considerably in order to grind out a positive result at Old Trafford. The Premier League giants are expected to make a number of changes to the starting lineup because of injury problems.

Brandon Williams, Facundo Pellistri, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are sidelined. In addition, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is also expected to rest some of his players and rotate the side against Real Sociedad in order to keep his squad fresh.

“We have to win every game,” ten Hag stated to the Manchester United’s official website, before continuing, “And we want to win every tournament so we have to take everything serious. We not only have a team, we have a squad, that’s clear. But we have to win every game. That is the mentality that Manchester United needs.”

Manchester United vs Real Sociedad Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats

“Maybe I cannot keep them [the players] all happy every game but everyone gets their game-time if they perform well, it’s quite clear. But what I say, we need everyone – we have a lot of games to cover. There is a lot coming in front of us, and the national teams of course – the World Cup – but also all of the cups in England. The Europa League, where we are now getting in, and, of course, the Premier League.”

The Dutchman has confirmed that striker Anthony Martial is injured. Meanwhile, Lisandro Martinez came off with a knock against Arsenal, and it is fair to assume that the Argentine will be on the bench for the game, paving the way for Harry Maguire to return to the starting lineup.

Regarding Martial, ten Hag said, “Yes, he is still out. He is progressing but he is not ready to get back into team training or in a game.”

Tyrell Malacia and Diogo Dalot are expected to continue as the full-backs, with Raphael Varane pairing up with Maguire at the heart of the Manchester United defence. David de Gea should continue between the sticks ahead of Martin Dubravka.

Former Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro is expected to be handed his first start here and the Brazilian, on full debut for Manchester United, will partner Christian Eriksen in the midfield double-pivot.

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Summer signing Antony is also expected to start alongside Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho as the advanced midfielders. Cristiano Ronaldo will be leading the line for Manchester United against Real Sociedad. Marcus Rashford is expected to be on the bench for the game, with Anthony Elanga another offensive substitute.

Predicted Manchester United XI: de Gea; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Malacia; Casemiro, Eriksen; Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Sancho; Ronaldo

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