AZ Alkmaar head to Old Trafford for a clash with Manchester United that will decide who tops Europa League Group L. Kick off is at 8pm.

AZ’s last gasp equaliser against Partizan Belgrade two weeks ago sealed the Alkmaar side’s place in the knockout round. However, Arnie Slot’s side can still finish top of the group if they can defeat Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday.

AZ go into the game on the back of a comfortable 3-0 victory at PEC Zwolle which moves them to within two points of Ajax at the top of the Eredivisie table.

AZ take on Ajax this Sunday but first, Slot is determined to beat Manchester United. He told Fox Sports, “For us it is certainly about something, we want to become a group winner and get as far as possible in the Europa League.”

Manchester United go into the game full of confidence after wins over Tottenham Hotspur and fierce rivals Manchester City in recent weeks.

Their boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was full of praise for AZ in his press conference, “We rate AZ highly, we have watched many of their matches. They are way ahead of PSV in the competition, so we know they have qualities. It is not easy to play against them, they are very confident. “

The fixture between the two sides earlier this season ended 0-0 in the Hague with AZ unlucky not to take all three points.

Team News

AZ are without suspended striker Myron Boadu, while centre-back Pantelis Hatzidiakos is out for the rest of the season.

Slot may decide to start with Ferdy Druijf, who was the hero against Partizan Belgrade.

Possible AZ line-up: Bizot, Svensson, Wijndal, Wuytens, Koopmeiners, Clasie, Midtso, De Wit, Idrissi, Stengs, Druijf

Solskjaer has already confirmed that he is likely to start a number of youngsters on Thursday with their place in the next round already confirmed.

Paul Pogba is out while Timothy Fosu-Mensah is not fit to feature. Tahith Chong will be hoping for another chance to impress.

Possible Manchester United line-up: Romero, Laird, Shaw, Tuanzebe, Bernard, Matic, Pereira, Mata, Chong, James, Greenwood

Odds

Manchester United 4/5 Draw 11/4 AZ Alkmaar 10/3

Can AZ get a victory at Old Trafford?

Manchester United are in good form at the moment but they won’t be taking this game too seriously with their place in the next round already confirmed, while they have a tight Christmas schedule ahead.

That opens up an opportunity for AZ, who will be heading to England looking for victory and a seeded place in the draw for the knockout rounds.

The loss of suspended Boadu is a blow but a front three of Idrissi, Stengs and Druijf can still cause United’s defence a host of problems and there should be goals on both sides.

Whatever happens, AZ will be in Friday’s draw and the game at Old Trafford is just another chance for the club’s young guns to impress.




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