AZ Alkmaar v Celtic (Preview)
Match Stats from the first leg (Celtic v AZ Alkmaar)
Celtic 2 xG 1.17 (Kyogo 12, Forrest 61) AZ Alkmaar 0 xG 0.84
AZ Alkmaar lined up with the following team.
11 Karlsson (left winger) was suspended and he was replaced by their new signing from Willem II (21 Pavlidis). Pavlidis played central with 28 Gudmundsson moving right and 17 Abouklal switching wings to cover Karlsson.
Karlsson is one of their best players and will be back in the team this Thursday.
8 Koopmeiners and 6 Midtsjo were main players for last season but were left out in the first league game of the season with Koopmeiners (team captain) heavily linked with a move away to Roma.
Both came back in for the game against us, replacing 24 Reijnders and 20 Clasie who dropped to the bench.
Hot prospect and left back 5 Wijndal was injured for the first leg and the first league game of the season and is likely to be missing again. 25 Oosting is more of a midfielder so obviously a weak spot for the team with a makeshift left back replacing one of the best players in the team.
Average formation from their first league match away against RKC Waalwijk (where they lost 1-0) is opposite with 2 Sugawara more advanced than the other defenders and the three midfielders were very central.
AZ Alkmaar have only played 2 games this season and they haven't played since the first leg.
In the first leg their top 3 for Fotmob ratings were;
Left back Oosting had an xG of 0.52 which was second only to Kyogo.
AZ Alkmaar had more possession than us (52%) and had 273 accurate passes to our 244. They had a pass accuracy of 79% and we had 78%. Our lowest passes so far this season was 434 versus Midtjylland and our lowest passing accuracy was 81% again versus Midtjylland. Our lowest possession of the season was 63% and that dropped to 48% in this game. However we did have 13 shots to AZ's 8 and we had 9 on target and 10 box shots. Our long ball accuracy was only 29% which was our lowest of the season. 2nd lowest was 33% and average was 48%. Our xG was 1.17 and xG per shot was at 0.09 which was our 3rd lowest of the season.
Our probabilities of winning the game are 33% which is surprisingly higher than the 30.7% we were away against the lower rated Midtjylland. AZ Alkmaar's ELO rating is 73 while Midtjylland's is 113. AZ Alkmaar probabilities are 41% and it is 26% probabilities of a draw.
Despite the probabilities being higher than the Midtjylland game (which is down to our improvement) this is our hardest test of the season and given the stats from the first leg (possession and passes) and the fact Karlsson is back and that they are at home then this could be a difficult night for us.
Let's hope our improvement continues as it has been doing and we handle the game situations well and progress to the Europa League Group stages.
The dates for the Europa League Group stages are;
September 16th and 30th
November 4th and 25th
There's a change to the format of the Europa League this year with;
the winners of the Europa League groups going into the last 16 and
the runners up in the Europa League groups going into a play off with those dropping down from the Champions League to see who goes into the last 16.
third place in the Europa League groups go into a play off in the Conference League against those who were runners up in the Conference League Group stages
Dates for the knockout stages;
Knockout round of Europa League (and knockout round for the Conference League) - 17th and 24th February
Last 16 of Europa League - 10th and 17th March
Quarter Finals of Europa League - 7th and 14th April
Semi Finals of Europa League - 28th April and 5th May
Europa League Final - 18th May (in Seville)
Ange's army on our way to Seville .....
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