AZ Alkmaar VS Ajax Prediction
AZ Alkmaar and Ajax Amsterdam are set for their first duel since end of February when Ajax won 4-1 at its “Amsterdam Arena”, which has marked their Eredivisie double over AZ. Couple of months later AZ and Ajax are on the eve of their direct encounter part from round 12 in the 2016-17 Dutch Eredivisie season, when on Sunday afternoon, 6 November 2016, the “AFAS Stadion” in Alkmaar will be stage of probably the most intriguing fixture from the ongoing game week. Eleven (11) rounds have already passed and we find Ajax on three points behind its fierce rival and also current leader in the Eredivisie table Feyenoord Rotterdam, which secures the second position for “de Godenzonen”, at least before the other very intriguing round 12 game facing PSV Eindhoven and Twente on Saturday evening.
AZ Alkmaar vs Ajax – Team News and Match Preview
Besides the domestic engagement, AZ and Ajax are two of the sides that traditionally represent Dutch football on the European scene and they both were busy in the midweek, when on Thursday evening we had matchday 4 of the UEFA Europa League group phase.
AZ returns back at home after a long journey to Israel where John van den Brom’s men and Maccabi Tel Aviv couldn’t score – 0:0. That draw leaves AZ on the last fourth position in Group D of the 2016-17 UEFA Europa League, where they have won just 2 points in 4 games. However, they still have decent chances to qualify for the knockout phase, since AZ is on just two points behind Dundalk and Maccabi, whilst Russian Zenit has already secured first position in that group.
While AZ struggled in Israel, Peter Bosz’s men did enough to book their position at the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 draw, and if there aren’t any unexpected circumstances, Ajax have also secured first position in Group G. That was inspired by the 3-2 victory against Celta Vigo at the “Amsterdam ArenA”, where on Thursday evening Dutch vice-champion took a comfortable 3-0 lead. Anyway, “de Godenzonen” had to tremble in closing minutes of the match, since former Feyenoord striker John Guidetti and Iago Aspas were aces of the Spanish team and they both came on the pitch as substitutions, when score was already 3-0. Indeed, Celta started with some backup players, or with players who don’t receive enough first-team football in the La Liga, so we can easily note that Ajax felt some serious issues when they had to stop Celta’s main attackers in closing minutes of the game.
AZ Alkmaar vs Ajax – Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
Despite difficulties which Ajax had in closing minutes of the midweek Europa League round, Peter Bosz can be pleased with the three points won by his lads and by fact that Ajax shows good improvement in attack. Bertrand Traore, Amin Younes and the 19-year-old Danish talent Kasper Dolberg are showing some great stuff, not without the fine midfield support by players like Davy Klaassen and summer signing Hakim Ziyech, so we can say Ajax starts to form its new look under Peter Bosz’s management. After the poor beginning of the season and another Champions League disappointment, Ajax can boast with a stunning form and 14 games without losing, which contains 12 victories and only 2 draws. Superb form by The Amsterdammers and all these results came after the humiliation on Russian turf, where Ajax lost heavily to FK Rostov in end of August and that cost them another wonderful opportunity to participate in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
AZ Alkmaar began its European campaign from the Europa League qualifiers late in July, where the fourth from last Eredivisie season didn’t had much trouble, eliminating teams of PAS Giannina and Vojvodina Novi Sad. However, John van den Brom’s men failed to win in any of their last five European fixtures. That can reflect to the team morale but at the same time AZ’s boss can feel content his squad has kept three consecutive clean sheets in three different competitions. Starting from the 1-0 win over Emmen in the Dutch Cup, going through another narrow success over ADO Den Haag last weekend (Eredivisie) and the aforementioned goalless draw vs Peter Bosz’s former club – Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Final conclusion and Betting Prediction
AZ are unbeaten in any of their five Eredivisie home games and they have two wins and three draws (all of the draws have ended with a same score – 2:2) since the beginning of the 2016-17 Eredivisie season. Anyhow, their previous visitors were not names of “The Big Three” in Dutch football and basically Ajax will be their first serious home challenge and second in the season, if we consider AZ’s 0-5 defeat against Zenit in Saint Petersburg.
Central defender Jop van der Linden remains the only injury concern of AZ’s coach John van den Brom.
Visitors from Amsterdam travel to Alkmaar without the injured Nick Viergever, so Jairo Riedewald looks as the most reliable replacement of Ajax’s first-team centre-back.
Peter Bosz will name similar lineup as he used in the midweek and some replacements are very likely, mainly to refresh the overall look of the team. Mitchell Dijks may replace Daley Sinkgraven at the left-back, while experienced Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne may be replaced by Nemanja Gudelj, who was on the pitch for only around 15 minutes on Thursday night.
We are ready to place a bet on the away side – Ajax are in superb form and their attacking line obviously enjoys its own football. Condition and morale of the team looks in completely different way compared to the poor attitude in opening weeks of the season, so we believe Ajax can grab all the points from its trip to Alkmaar. 1X2 Betting – Ajax to win vs AZ on Sunday afternoon.
Venue: “AFAS Stadion”, Alkmaar.
Referee: Pol van Boekel.
Possible starting lineups of AZ Alkmaar and Ajax
AZ Alkmaar: Sergio Rochet – Ridgeciano Haps, Rens van Eijden, Ron Vlaar, Mattias Johansson – Derrick Luckassen, Stijn Wuytens, Joris van Overeem – Levi García, Dabney dos Santos, Wout Weghorst. (4-3-3)
AFC Ajax: André Onana – Mitchell Dijks, Jairo Riedewald, Davinson Sánchez, Joël Veltman – Nemanja Gudelj, Davy Klaassen, Hakim Ziyech – Amin Younes, Bertrand Traore, Kasper Dolberg. (4-3-3)