Manchester United have had a wonderful week with wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, but now it is the time to finish off the Europa League group stage campaign and it is important to finish the properly. The opposition are AZ Alkmaar, who will be coming to Old Trafford on Thursday night in what will be a decider for the top two spots in Group L.
Here are some of the things you should know ahead of that match.
How Are They Doing This Season?
AZ Alkmaar have been phenomenal this season, in a way no one really expected. In recent years, they were always behind Ajax and PSV and even Feyenoord. They were known for a leaky defence that could cost them at any point, but it is interesting to see that has not been the case this season. AZ Alkmaar are currently the only team challenging Ajax in the Dutch Eredivisie.
With Feyenoord being far from good this term and PSV Eindhoven inexplicably showing much worse performorances, AZ are the only team following the champions. They have won 38 points from 16 matches, which has given them a rise to the second place, just three points off Ajax. Also, they have a seven-point cushion in comparison to PSV.
They won 12 of those 16 matches and have conceded just eight goals, making their defence by far the best in the league so far, conceding just half a goal per match on average.
In Europa League, they have qualified with a late comeback in a 2-2 draw against Partizan at home, which was an unusually poor defensive performance from their team. Now, they want to claim the top spot.
Who Are Their Main Players?
Their main players this season have been the talented Myron Boadu and the winger Oussama Idrissi. The former is just 18 years old and has already scored 14 goals and assisted another seven in Eredivisie and Europa League combined. He is one of the players being linked with the best sides in Europe and it will not be long before someone signs him, either next summer or the one after that.
Idrissi, on the other hand, is the left winger, but that does not mean he is any less dangerous. He has 11 goals in these two competitions, but he also scored incredible six in just three games in KNVB Cup.
AZ Alkmaar play in a typically Dutch 4-3-3 formation and their midfield could be labeled as the weaker part of the side.
Why Man United Need To Take This Game Seriously?
Man United need to get at least a draw from this match, as that would seal the first place for them in Group L. That would mean a potentially easier draw for the Round of 32, where they could meet only the second-placed sides from Europa League or the four of the eight Champions League teams that have had worse results in that competition.
With teams like Ajax and Inter Milan already coming to Europa League, it would be important to get that first place and avoid them, amongst others.