Aston Villa reach a crucial stage of their UEFA Europa Conference League campaign as they host AZ Alkmaar at Villa Park on Thursay (November 9).
Unai Emery's side are in need of a response to Sunday's shock defeat to Nottingham Forest, and fortunately Thursday is an opportunity to do that. Villa are second in their Conference League group and there's an opportunity to go top should they win and Legia Warszawa drop any points to Zrinjski.
Last time out, Villa inflicted a a 4-1 defeat on the Dutch outfit with Leon Bailey, Youri Tielemans, Ollie Watkins and John McGinnn all scored just before the hour. Ibrahim Sadiq scored a consolation goal in the 65th minute but Villa will be full of confidence given the last meeting between the two sides.
Ahead of Thursday’s clash, here’s the latest injury and team news from both the Aston Villa and AZ Alkmaar camps
Emi Buendia and Tyrone Mings are two long-term absentees. Buendia suffered a ‘serious’ knee injury in training, and is expected to be out for the 2023/24 campaign, and the same is expected of Mings who was stretchered off in the season opener against Newcastle United.
Jacob Ramsey has a foot injury, and will not return until after the international break. Unai Emery said: “Jacob is working individually and getting better, but not for the next two weeks before the [international] break. I think he’s not going to be available.”
Villa have two doubts meanwhile with Matty Cash picking up a shoulder injury in the defeat against Nottingham Forest, whilst Jhon Duran has an infected toe which has ruled him out for last few matches.
AZ Alkmaar's Sem Westerveld has been out since July with a meniscus injury. The goalkeeper has yet to make a competitive appearance for the club but he was amongst the substitutes in their last Europa Conference League campaign.
Mees de Wit is also injured, having been sidelined with a foot injury that he suffered in mid-September. The 25-year-old has only played 45 minutes this term, which came in a second round qualifier against Brann, and then was an unused substtiute against Vitesse at the start of September.
Mayckel Lahdo is out through suspension as he misses a second game following his red card against Zrinjski. His absence is a blow given his three goals and two assists in 10 Eredivisie matches. He was substituted after just 22-minutes at the weekend, though it is unclear whether it was tactical or an injury.
The one to watch is Vangelis Pavlidis who was named the Player of the Month for October after scoring in ten consecutive matches for AZ. He scored five league goals last month and his tally is now 14 in nine games, averging 1.48 gols per 90.
Alkmaar in their last match drew 1-1 with Excelsior. Lahdo scored in the 72nd minute but in the first minute of stoppage time AZ conceded, and had to accept a point on the road.
AZ Alkmaar's last XI: Ryan, Wolfe, Martins Indi (Penetra 65), Bazoer, Sugawara, Mijnans, Clasie, van Brederod (van Bommel 87), De Wit (Dantas, 65), Odgaard (Lahdo, 65) (Sadiq, 87), Pavlidis.