Manchester United play their second Europa League group game of the season as they travel to AFAS Stadion for a meeting with AZ Alkmaar on Thursday night.
A drab 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Monday saw the Red Devils record their worst start to a league season since 1989. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's recruits enjoyed a mostly positive beginning to their European campaign with a 1-0 victory over Astana at Old Trafford, Mason Greenwood ensuring United took the points in round one of Group L.
The Dutch side weren't so fortunate in their opening pool stage fixture, though a 2-2 draw away to Partizan Belgrade is hardly a failure given the dismissal of Jonas Svensson within half an hour of the clash in Serbia.
Where to Watch
|When is Kick Off?||Thursday 3 October|
|What Time is Kick Off?||17:55 (BST)|
|Where is it Played?||AFAS Stadion|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 2|
Solskjaer must cope without as many as eight of his first-team squad. However, a number of those currently receiving treatment could still make the showdown in the Netherlands.
United have serious issues in defence following injuries to Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly.
Fortunately for the Norwegian coach, Shaw and Dalot have an outside chance of appearing at AFAS Stadion, with the same true of Anthony Martial and Angel Gomes.
Alkmaar boss Arne Slot has almost a full compliment of players to choose from going into the encounter with United. None of his squad are currently fighting injury, leaving the suspended Svensson as the only man unavailable.
|AZ Alkmaar||Bizot; Sugawara, Vlaar, Wuytens, Wijndal; Clasie, Koopmeiners; Stengs, De Wit, Idrissi; Boadu.|
|Manchester United||Romero; Young, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Rojo; Fred, Matic; Pereira, Mata, Lingard; Greenwood.|
Head to Head Record
The Red Devils have never met Alkmaar before, with contrasting histories for the two clubs in continental competition.
United have played in a total of 29 European Cup campaigns, a penalty shootout victory over Chelsea in 2008 taking the side to their third tournament triumph.
The Dutchmen, on the other hand, are rather unfamiliar with the Champions League and its predecessor, their only season amongst Europe's best ending with a group stage exit.
Nevertheless, the Cheeseheads possess some pedigree having reached the 1981 UEFA Cup final, as well as the Europa League quarters in 2014.
Only once in 2019/20 have the Red Devils scored more than one goal in a game, that coming against Chelsea in their Premier League curtain-raiser.
Kazakh side Astana, League One Rochdale and ten-man Southampton are just three of the teams to hold United to a single score, though their problems are not restricted to attacking play.
A general lack of quality and cohesion have also derailed the club's plans in the early stages of this campaign, the players looking lost as their manager struggles to provide the answers.
Alkmaar are having a far better time of things at present, the Cheeseheads sitting a mere point behind leaders Ajax in the Eredivisie after recording only one defeat this term.
Winger Oussama Idrissi has been in superb form for Slot's side, hitting six goals in the Eredivisie to put him two ahead of teammates Teun Koopmeiners and Myron Boadu.
Here's how the sides got on in their last five games.
|AZ Alkmaar||Manchester United|
|AZ Alkmaar 5-1 Sparta Rotterdam (14/9)||Manchester United 1-0 Leicester City (14/9)|
|Partizan Belgrade 2-2 AZ Alkmaar (19/9)||Manchester United 1-0 Astana (19/9)|
|Den Haag 0-1 AZ Alkmaar (22/9)||West Ham United 2-0 Manchester United (22/9)|
|Feyenoord 0-3 AZ Alkmaar (26/9)||Manchester United 1-1 Rochdale *(5-3) (25/9)|
|AZ Alkmaar 2-0 Heracles (29/9)||Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal (30/9)|
The Red Devils are not in good nick at present, with the pressure on Solskjaer continuing to rise following an underwhelming beginning to their domestic campaign.
Confidence is low and a well-drilled side like the Cheeseheads - who have conceded the fewest goals in the Eredivisie this term - will frustrate them.
If you combine that with United's lack of self-belief and scoring threat, victory starts to look a tall order for the Englishmen.
Prediction: AZ Alkmaar 0-0 Manchester United