MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 22:37:37| >> :60:99:99:
Dec 12, 2019 at 8pm UK at Old Trafford (Manchester)
Attendance: 65,773
Man UtdManchester United
4-0
AZAZ Alkmaar
Young (53'), Greenwood (58', 64'), Mata (62' pen.)
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Manchester United vs. AZ - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Thursday's Europa League fixture between Manchester United and AZ.

Manchester United play host to AZ in the Europa League on Thursday night still requiring a point to secure top spot in Group L.

However, AZ make the trip to Old Trafford knowing that victory will be enough to relegate the Premier League giants into second place.


Match preview

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates after the match against on Tottenham on December 4, 2019© Reuters

After a three-match winless streak, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found himself under pressure to keep his job in the dugout ahead of meetings with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in the Premier League.

However, while successive 2-1 victories have not completely ended speculation regarding his future, Solskjaer heads into the meeting with AZ feeling significantly safer in the North-West.

While there is an argument that United's style of play is only effective against the bigger clubs, the Norwegian now has more time to adapt his tactics in order to keep United in contention for a top-four position in England's top flight.

As far as their European campaign is concerned, Solskjaer has regularly taken the opportunity to make sweeping alterations to his starting lineup, although that stance may change with AZ still able to claim top spot.

Progressing through to the last 32 as group winners is not a necessity for United, but there is a feeling that Solskjaer should do what it takes to maintain their momentum heading into Sunday's clash with Everton.

However, regardless of the former striker's team selection, AZ will pose a threat on Thursday night having continued to be the surprise package of Dutch football this season.

Arne Slot's side, who sit in second place in the Eredivisie, have won eight of their last nine matches in all competitions, although their 2-2 draw at home to Besiktas two weeks ago prevented the club from heading into matchday six ahead of United.

Nevertheless, they kept clean sheets in each of those eight victories, suggesting that United are unlikely to have it all their own way in this group decider.

Manchester United Europa League form: WDWWL
Manchester United form (all competitions): WDLDWW

AZ Europa League form: WDDWWD
AZ form (all competitions): WWWDWW


Team News

Marcos Rojo pictured for Manchester United in December 2018© Reuters

Solskjaer will hope to have Marcos Rojo available after a muscle injury, while Nemanja Matic is in line to make his first start since October 3.

Mason Greenwood will almost certainly be selected in attack, with Tahith Chong being given another opportunity to impress on the flank.

Fellow youngsters Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams should feature at the back, although Solskjaer is expected to name a more experienced lineup to the one which started the game in Astana two weeks ago.

While Paul Pogba is closing in on a return from an ankle problem, the Frenchman is unlikely to have recovered in time for Thursday night.

As for AZ, former Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar could play after returning to the squad at the weekend.

Jordy Clasie may take the place of Fredrik Midtsjo in midfield, but Myron Boadu misses out through suspension.

Manchester United possible starting lineup: Romero; Young, Tuanzebe, Rojo, Williams; Matic, Pereira; James, Mata, Chong; Greenwood

AZ possible starting lineup: Bizot; Svensson, Wuytens, Vlaar, Wijndal; Wit, Clasie, Koopmeiners; Stengs, Druijf, Idrissi


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Manchester United 2-1 AZ

.

With Solskjaer likely to make changes and AZ being eager to record one of the biggest wins in their history, we are predicting a closely-fought encounter. However, United's superior class in the final third could prove to be the difference.



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AZ Alkmaar manager Arne Slot pictured on October 2, 2019
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Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

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Brasileiro
Copa Diego Maradona
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