AZ Alkmaar - Aston Villa predictions and free betting tips [26/10/2023]
Group E is truly giving us some sound sensations. You'd think AZ Alkmaar and Aston Villa would briskly win two matches before squaring off for the top spot in the table. But alas, the other two clubs had different predictions in mind. Now, the Dutch team's clash with the English side carries far more than just a peripheral importance, so we are truly going to enjoy this full-on showdown.
Projected team line-up
AZ Alkmaar: Ryan; Sugawara, Bazour, Penetra, Wijndal; Mijnans, Clasie, Sadiq, de Wit, Breederoode, Pavlidis
Aston Villa: Martínez; Cash, Konsa, Torres, Targett; McGinn, Kamara, Douglas Luiz, Zaniolo; Bailey, Watkins
Pascal Jansen's side is, in my opinion, performing splendidly. They are currently in second place in the Dutch league, only behind PSV. Although there remains a little intrigue in the Conference League, I believe that in the second round of group stage, the leadership positions will definitely include AZ.
I cannot explain the failure in the match against Zrinjski Mostar in the first round of the European competition. After leading 3:0 at the break, Jansen's lads conceded four straight, probably making someone rich if they happened to bet on the home team in the second half. However, this failure did not affect the further results of AZ Alkmaar, on the contrary, it spurred them on. In the second round of the Conference League, the Dutch club managed to win at home against Polish side Legia with a minimal score of 1:0, while playing for half of the second half at a disadvantage.
Jansen's line-up is well acquainted and balanced, and I will not be surprised if AZ Alkmaar competes for the Eredivisie championship. The Greek striker, Vangelis Pavlidis, has been superb, having already scored 14 goals and providing 3 assists. The defence is solid for the Dutch, with their centre-backs deserving praise - but I would also mention the Japanese Yoshi Sugawara, who does a great job on his right flank and successfully contributes to attacks.
Despite their poor game in the first round, the Dutch club is in good shape. They need to play a top-flight football against Aston Villa. Here, little of the advantages that AZ Alkmaar holds will suffice. The host team must not let the guests take control of the game and simultaneously, they should not forget about their capabilities to effectively create goal-scoring opportunities near the opponent's goals. Let's see if Jansen's side could beat such a formidable competitor at home for a place in the play-offs.
Aston Villa climbed to the 5th place in the Premier League and it's important for them to maintain their consistency, especially in the upcoming matches against teams in the lower half of the table. The European cups should not be forgotten, however there is a simpler schedule here for Unai Emery's lads than in the Premier League, where it's essential to always display consistent football if you want to qualify for, say, the Europa League.
The English side started the European cups this season in the play-off qualification round, where they managed to hammer the Scottish side Hibernians. Then came the group matches, where Aston Villa played rather laxly against Legia on their turf, scoring fewer goals than the opposition. In the second round, Emery's team almost failed to realise their dominance in the match but on the 94th minute John McGinn managed to score with an assist from Matty Cash, granting them the victory over Zrinjski Mostar at home.
I believe it's clear how mighty the line-up of the English team is in comparison with the other competitive teams in the group. They have strong forwards, a World Cup-winning goalkeeper and their defence is well-coordinated. There are just some queries about certain players, for example, whether the Italian Nicolo Zaniolo will be in the starting line-up for the match against AZ.
Anyway, Aston Villa surely have everything needed for a smooth progression through Group E. The match against AZ Alkmaar will definitely be a tough one and I wouldn't rule out the possibility of the Dutch causing lots of trouble for Emery's footballers in this match.
Match prediction: AZ Alkmaar - Aston Villa
We will surely witness goals in this match, it's just unclear who will concede more. I'm placing my bet on total over 2.5 as I believe both teams will deliver quality front-foot football in this game.