Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Prediction: AZ Alkmaar vs Manchester United

Verdict: AZ Alkmaar draw no bet

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

With a real opportunity to make a statement, Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar will welcome a lackluster Manchester United to the AFAS Stadion on Thursday evening.

AZ Alkmaar

Starting with the hosts, while AZ Alkmaar may have been disappointed to have only managed to open up their Europa League campaign with a 2-2 draw away at Serbian outfit Partizan, new boss Arne Slot has seen his side bounce back in some style. Really showing a string of improvements since their former assistant coach was given full control over the summer, the Cheeseheads put in another dominant display in their 2-0 win over Heracles over the weekend. Now enjoying a three-match winning run and sat just a single point adrift of both PSV and Ajax, most around the AFAS Stadion will be most impressed by their side’s recent defensive resolve. Recording a trio of clean sheets on the bounce, Thursday’s hosts have also conceded just two goals on home soil in their last six appearances. Along with shinning at the back, AZ do have one man who is enjoying a very bright start to the season. Once again finding the net against Heracles last time out, 20-year-old starlet Calvin Stengs now has three goals in his last four matchups.

Team News

AZ will be without key defender Jonas Svensson after he received a straight red card during the club’s opening Europa League group game against Partizan Belgrade.

Manchester United

As for the visitors, throwing away a one-goal lead at Old Trafford on Monday night and having to settle for a 1-1 draw against Arsenal, Manchester United have continued on a very worrying run. Enduring their worst domestic start in over 30 years and many starting to question Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position in the dugout, the former Premier League champions find the mood in their camp at a continued low. Just managing to scrape past Kazakhstan outfit Astana thanks to a scrappy 1-0 win, the Red Devils also needed penalties to come past League One side Rochdale in the EFL Cup last week. Now on a run of form that has seen them record just two victories in their last 12 Premier League appearances, their Norweigan icon will be most concerned by United’s continued issues on the road. Suffering a 2-0 defeat away at West Ham last month, the Reds are yet to record a single win away from Old Trafford since opening the new campaign.

Team News  

Paul Pogba is unlikely to be risked after reaggravating his ankle injury against Arsenal, while Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are all definitely out.

Key Factors to Consider

  • AZ Alkmaar have won their last three matchups and are unbeaten in their last five appearances.
  • They have also recorded three clean sheets on the bounce.
  • Manchester United are yet to pick up a single away victory since opening the new season.
  • The Reds have failed to score more than a single goal in 90 minutes in any of their last eight matches on the bounce.
  • Thursday’s hosts are unbeaten in their last four Europa League matches on home soil.

Conclusion

While Manchester United might be the more recognizable name across Europe, Thursday’s guests are a shadow of their former selves. Enduring their worst start to a season in over 30 years and yet to pick up a single away victory so far this year, there is no doubt that AZ Alkmaar should see this as a golden opportunity to make a statement.

Verdict: AZ Alkmaar draw no bet 

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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