MX23RW : Saturday, September 22 15:52:05
Oct 23, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at ​Old Trafford
Man UtdManchester United
1-0
Real Sociedad
Martinez (2' og.)
Rafael (27'), Kagawa (34')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Vela (22'), Bergara (39'), Prieto (42')

In profile: Real Sociedad

Sports Mole takes a closer look at Real Sociedad ahead of their trip to Manchester United in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Manchester United boss David Moyes continues to come under increasing pressure following his side's lacklustre start to their Premier League title defence.

Four points have arrived in the Champions League, however, and another victory against Real Sociedad on Wednesday would place United in a commanding position in Group A.

However, Real Sociedad will have other ideas as they attempt to pick up their first European points of the season. With that in mind, Sports Mole runs the rule over the Spanish outfit, who finished fourth in La Liga last season.

History:

Real Sociedad, who play their football in La Liga, were founded in September 1909. They have twice won the league title in Spain – in 1980-81 and 1981-82. They were also founder members of La Liga in 1928, with their longest stretch in Spain's top flight standing at 40 years. La Real have also claimed two Copa del Rey crowns during their illustrious history, in addition to three Segunda Division titles, the last of which came in 2010 on their return to La Liga.

Real Sociedad players celebrate after Carlos Vela gives them the lead against Lyon on August 28, 2013© Getty Images

How they made it into the group stages:

Sociedad were undoubtedly the surprise package in La Liga last season as they secured fourth spot in the table on the final weekend of the season. They gained 66 points from their 38 matches, with the basis of their success built on a strong home record. While the likes of Valencia, Sevilla and Malaga faded, it was Sociedad that secured fourth.

That earned them a playoff clash against French outfit Lyon, who were the favourites to advance into the group stages. Sociedad made light work of the former Ligue 1 champions, however, as they advanced 2-0 on aggregate following two 1-0 wins. They have struggled in the group stages thus far, however, with back-to-back defeats against Shakhtar Donetsk and Bayer Leverkusen.

Real Sociedad's Antoine Griezmann is congratulated by team mates after scoring the opening goal against Lyon on August 20, 2013© AFP

Players to watch out for:

Inigo Martinez: Recently called into the senior Spanish squad, the 22-year-old is regarded as one of the best young centre-backs in world football. His performances last season were a key part of Sociedad's success and he has continued that form into the new campaign. It is no surprise that a number of major European outfits are monitoring his progress.

Carlos Vela: Arsenal fans will be familiar with the Mexican, even though his seven years with the Premier League outfit brought just three league goals. He has found a home at Sociedad, however, with his loan move to the Spanish side made permanent in the summer. He scored 14 goals for the club last season and has already notched four in eight games in the new campaign.

Antoine Griezmann: The 22-year-old winger has had his fair share of off-the-field problems in recent years, but his talent is unquestioned. The Frenchman was also among the goals last season as he scored 11 times in all competitions. He is the type of player that thrives on the big stage and Manchester United will need to be wary of his presence on Wednesday.

Antoine Griezmann of Real Sociedad celebrates after scoring the first goal during the La Liga match between Valencia CF and Real Sociedad at Estadio Mestalla on October 19, 2013© Getty Images

Previous meetings:

The two sides have never met in European competition, with Sociedad making just their second trip to England this week. They will not have fond memories of their first, having lost 6-0 to Liverpool in the second round of the 1975-76 UEFA Cup. The English outfit had already won the first leg 3-1, making it a humiliating result for the Spanish side.

However, Sociedad will take heart from United's struggles against Spanish opposition. The Premier League champions have won just one of their last six Old Trafford fixtures against La Liga visitors, with that success coming in a 1-0 win against Barcelona in 2008. That said, United's overall home record against Spanish visitors is quite strong with eight wins, nine draws and four defeats.

More recently, United have struggled against less fashionable teams in Spain. They were the favourites to overcome Athletic Bilbao in the 2011-12 Europa League after dropping out of the Champions League, but they lost 3-2 in the last-16 stage to the Basque outfit.

Real Sociedad's Mexican forward Carlos Vela controls the ball during the Spanish league football match Sevilla FC vs Real Sociedad at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Sevilla on May 18, 2013© Getty Images

Interesting fact:

Prior to 1989, Real Sociedad only fielded players from the Basque region of Spain. That policy was abandoned when they signed Republic of Ireland striker John Aldridge from Liverpool in 1989. The former Newport County youngster enjoyed a successful two seasons with the Spanish outfit, scoring 33 league goals in 63 appearances before moving to Tranmere Rovers in 1991.

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Antoine Griezmann of Real Sociedad celebrates after scoring the first goal during the La Liga match between Valencia CF and Real Sociedad at Estadio Mestalla on October 19, 2013
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Result: Sociedad ease past Valencia
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