AZ Alkmaar v Manchester United: Five things we want to see

Manchester United take on AZ Alkmaar on Thursday evening in the Europa League. Note the early 5.55pm kick-off time.

United’s last Europa League game in Holland was a disappointing loss to Feyenoord. We don’t want a repeat of that.

Here are five things we want to see this evening…

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

A positive result

United made hard work of the win over Astana in the previous game, but got the three points. Another win really would put us in a commanding position in the group.


A draw would not be terrible either, AZ are in strong form, winning their last four league games in a row, but they are two points behind us in the Europa League already.

United are without Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba and likely to rest David de Gea.

A draw or a win would build a bit of momentum heading into the away game with Newcastle on Sunday.

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Sensible management and injuries avoided

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has decided not to risk Pogba due to AZ Alkmaar’s artificial pitch, The Guardian report.

He needs to be very careful with key players who he could need on Sunday, Dan James for instance.

It would be better to see the Welshman used as a substitute to ensure he is fresher for Sunday. The problem admittedly, is a lack of other options, but it would still be a risk.

Playing Marcus Rashford against Astana backfired as he looked exhausted days later at West Ham and picked up an injury.

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Dalot taking his chance

Diogo Dalot is back with the squad and in line for his second appearance of the season.

He could feature at right-back with Aaron Wan-Bissaka out, but it is also possible the Portuguese could be selected on the wing.

It has been frustrating how little he has been available this season so far due to injury and he needs to kick on.

Dalot has talent but he needs to stay fit. This can be the first step in him getting back on track.

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Garner from the bench

James Garner’s inclusion in the squad came as a pleasant surprise after he played for 90 minutes in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.

He has scored six goals in seven academy games this season and is deserving of the step up.

Solskjaer told the MEN that a start for Garner is unlikely due to his efforts against Lincoln, but it would be good to see the 18-year-old come off the bench. Just being on the trip is a good sign.

His eye for goal might even be decisive if he gets an opportunity to shoot on sight.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

More progress from Gomes, Greenwood and Chong

Mason Greenwood has to start after sitting out against Arsenal. It makes sense to rest Marcus Rashford too, ahead of this weekend.

Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong are less guaranteed to start, with one coming off an injury and the latter playing 45 minutes on Tuesday in the EFL Trophy.

If they do play, from the start or as substitutes, it is important they show what they are capable of and start making the case for more opportunities.

It would also be good to see Brandon Williams given a start given the way resources at full-back are stretched.

The first team desperately need strong competition and they have to grab each and every chance they get.

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