13 December 2019
Manchester United and AZ Alkmaar will face off at Old Trafford in a match that will determine the winners of the UEFA Europa League (EL) Group L.
A shock 2-1 defeat to Astana last time out has halted United’s four-game unbeaten run in this section (W3, D1), and it was the only EL match this season that saw United fail to shut out their opponents. Two of the hosts’ three EL wins this term have come via the same 1-0 scoreline, with four of their total six EL goals scored so far arriving in the first half. A dismal goalless draw in the Netherlands on Matchday 2 saw the Red Devils fail to produce a single shot on target in the EL match for the first time in their history. However, the Premier League heavyweights have won six of eight European home fixtures against the Dutch visitors and have also picked up nine wins in their last 11 EL home matches (W9, D2). Another success is definitely on the cards here, given that Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s men have pulled off five triumphs in their previous nine competitive home outings (W5, D4).
Meanwhile, the visitors can finish top of the group should they manage to win here and round off the successful group stage campaign without a loss (W2, D3). But, both of AZ’s EL triumphs this term have come against dead-last Astana and saw them score five or more goals and keep clean sheets. In fact, except for a 0-0 draw with United, the Dutch visitors have scored at least two goals in all four of their remaining EL appearances this season. Arne Slot’s men have also been impressive defensively this term, keeping seven clean sheets in 11 European outings, qualifying included. A potential worry for the traveling side could be that the Cheeseheads have lost five of their last 11 continental trips, picking up only two wins (W2, D4, L5).
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