Manchester United to edge AZ Alkmaar in low-scoring encounter

    Manchester United vs AZ Alkmaar Preview 12/12/2019

    12 Dec 2019 | Europa League | Preview
    Manchester United to edge AZ Alkmaar in low-scoring encounter
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    The top two sides in Group L meet at Old Trafford on Thursday night as Manchester United host AZ Alkmaar. Both teams have already qualified for the Europa League knockout stages, while a draw would be enough to see the English club top the group.

    After picking up 10 points from five games, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are one point ahead of Alkmaar. The Dutch outfit are unbeaten in Europe this season, but two wins and three draws have seen them accumulate nine points so far.

    Successive victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City have rejuvenated Man Utd. After seeing off Spurs at Old Trafford, Man Utd blew away their noisy neighbours with a scintillating display in the Manchester Derby.

    Following outstanding back-to-back victories, United have moved up to fifth in the Premier League table. Still, defeat to Astana in the previous round of the Europa League gave everyone a stark reminder of where the club is at right now.

    Having already qualified for the Round of 32, Solskjaer picked a young and inexperienced side in Kazakhstan. But with players like Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood in the team, United will be disappointed with the result.

    With just eight league goals conceded so far this season, Alkmaar boast the best defensive record in the Dutch top-flight. This statistic is made even more remarkable when you consider that Ajax – the country’s top team – have already shipped 14 goals in the Eredivisie this term.

    Alkmaar find themselves three points behind league-leaders Ajax after winning their last six league games without conceding a single goal.

    Manager Arne Slot has built his team on a solid defence. Experienced centre-backs Ron Vlaar and Stijn Wuytens have both played starring roles this season, while youngsters such as Owen Wijndal, Teun Koopmeiners and Yukinari Sugawara have also impressed.

    However, Aklmaar’s defence will have to be at its very best to keep out Marcus Rashford. The 22-year-old has netted seven goals in his last eight league appearances, while also chipping in with some important assists.

    With that being said, it’s difficult to predict what sort of team Solskjaer will field on Thursday. With qualification for the last 32 in the bag, we could see the likes of Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and James Garner given another chance.

    It’s set to be a close encounter, but Manchester United will have a spring in their step following a couple of eye-catching wins.

    Forebet predicts that the home side will edge Alkmaar in a tight game. Under 1.5 goals is looking likely.

    Predictions for Europa League

    Home team - Away team Tip
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    APOEL FCSevilla FC
    12/12/2019 18:55
    2
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    Karabakh AgdamF91 Dudelange
    12/12/2019 18:55
    1
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    Dynamo KievFC Lugano
    12/12/2019 18:55
    1
    flag_14 UEL
    FC KøbenhavnMalmö FF
    12/12/2019 18:55
    1

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