Football Previews

Man Utd vs AZ Alkmaar preview, predictions & confirmed team news as Matic starts

By Ben Green

Published: 18:48, 12 December 2019

Manchester United face a group-deciding encounter with AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League on Thursday night.

Both sides have already guaranteed qualification to the knockout rounds but this fixture will determine who tops Group L.

The Red Devils currently lead the way on 10 points, but their Dutch counterparts sit just a point below them. A result will be enough to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men enter the last 32 draw in the group winners pot.

However, Arne Slot’s side are yet to taste defeat in the competition this season, so this will likely prove a tough affair for Solskjaer and Co.

Read on for Manchester United vs AZ Alkmaar preview, predictions, team news, TV coverage information and more.

When is Man United vs AZ Alkmaar and where can I watch live?

Competition: Europa League

Venue: Old Trafford

Date: Thursday, 12 December 2019

Kick-off: 8:00 PM (UK time)

TV coverage (UK): BT Sport 2

Ones to watch

Man Utd: Mason Greenwood

The teenage talent has been impressing those of a Red Devil persuasion this season, finding the back of the net in the Premier League, League Cup and Europa League. But it is in this competition where the precocious forward has enjoyed his most prolific return in front of goal, scoring twice in four starts under Solskjaer. With their passage to the knockout phases already confirmed, Greenwood gets another run out under the illustrious Old Trafford lights.

Key stat: Mason Greenwood is the only 17-year-old to score for Manchester United in European competition in the club’s 141-year history.

AZ Alkmaar: Calvin Stengs

The 20-year-old has been one of the standout players for AZ Alkmaar this season, combining his innate dribbling skillset with an ability to unlock doors to devastating effect. Such has been his eye-catching form this season that Ronaldo Koeman has already handed him an international cap for the Netherlands. His explosive exploits from the wing will be key if AZ are to triumph in the North West.

Key stat: Calvin Stengs has created more chances in the Eredivisie than any other AZ Alkmaar player this season (39).

Team news

Man Utd

Nemanja Matic has passed a late fitness test to start for the first time since the first game between these two sides at the start of October.

He is joined by Andreas Pereira in holding midfield roles, with James Garner, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial ahead of them. Axel Tuanzebe partners Harry Maguire.

Confirmed XI: Romero; Young, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Williams; Matic, Pereira; Garner, Mata, Martial; Greenwood.

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AZ Alkmaar

The big news for the Cheeseheads is that teenage sensation Myron Boadu is suspended for this match. The 18-year-old forward already has 16 goals and 12 assists to his name in 26 appearances across all competitions, as well as one goal in one cap for the Netherlands, so he will be a huge miss on Thursday night.

Confirmed XI: Bizot; Svensson, Wuytens, Clasie, Wijndal; Midtsjo, Stengs, Koopmeiners; De Wit, Sugawara, Idrissi.

Squawka prediction

This could really depend on the team Solskjaer puts out. If he goes for an all-out youth approach, a la Astana, then AZ could very well clinch a win here. But given the permutations, the Norwegian may want to field a stronger XI to guarantee top spot in Group L, and make their lives that much easier further down the line. Should he opt for a more experienced side then expect Man Utd to hold their nerve and continue in the rich vein of form they currently find themselves in.

Scoreline prediction: Man Utd 2-1 AZ Alkmaar