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Manchester United vs. AZ Alkmaar: Solskjaer’s men to ‘bounce back from Astana loss’

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Both Manchester United and their Dutch opponents AZ Alkmaar have already clinched qualification to the knockout stages of the Europa League heading into their meeting on Thursday evening.

There is, however, the small but important matter of group standings to sort out, with first place still up for grabs. United are a point ahead heading into the final game of this stage, in the knowledge that anything but a loss will secure top spot.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men had already qualified after four games, thus allowing them to rest players in Astana last time out. Three debutants and seven teenagers were involved in the 2-1 loss, with the manager likely to name a similarly inexperienced side once again.

That may provide the visitors with some confidence heading into the meeting at Old Trafford, as well as the fact they held the group leaders to a goalless draw in the reverse fixture.

It’s currently 5/6 for a home win, and 10/3 for an away victory. A draw is available at 13/5.

And it’s 10/1 for another 0-0 stalemate between the pair.

Worryingly for United, though, is that their opponents boast the best offensive record in the competition this season. That was, however, helped massively by 6-0 and 5-0 victories over bottom side Astana.

They have also been focused at the back, keeping three clean sheets from their five games. AZ are currently 7/2 to make it a fourth on Thursday.

However, United have conceded just two goals in their five games, the joint-best defensive record along with Sevilla. They failed to keep a clean sheet for the first time in the group in that loss at Astana. But the Red Devils are currently 13/8 to return to their previous ways with a fifth shutout at the back.

Despite sitting top of the table, Solskjaer’s men certainly haven’t been as successful as they would have liked. They’ve found the net just six times in Group L. And it’s Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial who are their leading scorers, both netting twice so far.

18-year-old Greenwood looks set to lead the line once again. He is available at 5/1 to score the game’s first goal, and 8/5 to score anytime.

French forward Martial is currently 7/4 to add to his tally in the competition should he feature.

For AZ Alkmaar, their goals have come in the form of both Myron Boadu and Calvin Stengs. Boadu has four for the campaign and is currently 15/2 to score first, with Stengs available at 12/1.

Sports Journalism graduate, Liverpool and Northern Ireland fan. Currently working as a freelance journalist for GOAL, while I am a graduate of the FISU Young Reporters Programme at the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Can follow me on Twitter or view my linkdin biography or contact me via my email .

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