Sky Sports pundit states his prediction for AZ Alkmaar v Man United

Arsenal legend Charlie Nicholas is backing Man United to secure a narrow 1-0 win at AZ Alkmaaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Photo: Sky Sports)

Charlie Nicholas is backing Manchester United to ease to a narrow 1-0 win at AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League on Thursday night.

The Manchester United squad are in desperate need of a win to restore some positivity around the club following a poor start to their Premier League campaign.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side squandered a 1-0 lead to draw 1-1 with top-four rivals Arsenal on Monday night after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cancelled out Scott McTominay’s opener.

Manchester United are in tenth place in the Premier League table and 12 points adrift of leaders Liverpool FC after just seven games of the 2019-20 season.

The Red Devils were 1-0 winners against Kazakhstan side FC Astana in their Europa League group stage opener at Old Trafford last month thanks to Mason Greenwood’s goal.

Former Arsenal midfielder Nicholas is tipping Manchester United to beat AZ Alkmaar by a narrow one-goal margin on Thursday night.

“It is a game-by-game situation for Manchester United at the moment. You would normally think Man United would blow these away,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.

“From his interviews, it seems as though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to get something out, and it is probably anger and frustration.

“He can’t do that with the young players as he needs them and they have not let him down but he can’t do it with the older players as they will want to leave if it gets too much.

“What does he do to get more out of them? The confidence seems to have gone and individuals are playing for their own reputation and not the team. Dutch sides are technically good; these will be dangerous and have a go.

“You still would have thought that United would be too strong for them. It will not be inspiring but it will be a very important result for them.”

AZ Alkmaar and Manchester United are meeting for the first time in Uefa competitions, although the clubs have Louis van Gaal in common.

The former Netherlands head coach has previously managed both AZ Alkmaar and Manchester United.

The last English team AZ Alkmaar faced were Arsenal in the Dutch club’s only Champions League campaign in 2009-10, resulting in a 1-1 home draw preceding a 4-1 defeat in London.

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