Sat, 05 Dec 2020

MADRID, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- La Liga clubs Real Sociedad, Villarreal and Granada start the group stage of the Europa League action on Thursday night with question marks over whether their coaches will pick their strongest sides or follow a policy of squad rotations.

Real Sociedad travel to Croatia where they will be favorites to kick off their European adventure with a win against Rijeka, who are currently fourth in the Croatian league.

'La Real' travel as the leaders of La Liga after an impressive 3-0 win away to Betis on Sunday and coach Imanol is likely to make some changes with players such as winger Ander Barrenetxea getting a chance, although Sporting Director, Roberto Olabe advised on Tuesday that the club would take the competition seriously.

Villarreal lie behind Real Sociedad in second place in La Liga and coach Unai Emery knows what it is to succeed in the Europa League after winning the tournament three times in three seasons with Sevilla.

Emery will be without the injured quartet of Dani Parejo, Gerard Moreno, Pervis Estupinan and Alberto Moreno for the visit of Turkish side, Sivasspor. They could also rest others such as Paco Alcacer or Raul Albiol, while giving time to Take Kubo, who is suspended for next weekend's La Liga game away to Cadiz after seeing a red card against Valencia on Sunday.

Finally, Granada face a tough visit to an experienced Dutch side in PSV Eindhoven without striker Roberto Soldado, who gave a positive result in a PCR test carried out to detect the coronavirus on Monday.

Granada have had a strong start to the season and in their first European adventure have reached the group stage after battling through three qualifying rounds, beating experienced Swedish side Malmo along the way.

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