- Top two of the Eredivisie meet in Alkmaar this weekend
- Ajax favorites for the win but it’s been a bad week for the reigning champions
- AZ looking for fourth home clean sheet on the bounce – read our preview below for a prediction
It’s first versus second in round 17 of the Eredivisie, as leaders Ajax travel to AZ Alkmaar. AZ are currently the only team within striking distance of Ajax – just three points behind.
Ajax have scored the most in the league while AZ have conceded the fewest goals, so something has to give at the AFAS Stadion. We’ll take a look and see if we can identify some value for the bettors.
Eredivisie Round 17 – AZ Alkmaar vs Ajax Odds
|AZ Alkmaar||pk, +0.5 (+101)||+215||O 3, 3.5 (+105)|
|Ajax||pk, -0.5 (-121)||+111||U 3, 3.5 (-125)|
All odds taken on Dec. 14.
Manchester Hammering for AZ
It’s been a tricky week for Alkmaar, who had to settle for second-place in Europa League Group L after being hammered 4-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday night.
But they can put that behind them this weekend when they entertain Ajax, knowing a win will take them level on points with the league leaders. Arne Slot’s young team will need to rediscover the form that has seen them push their far more experienced opponents all the way so far this season.
In AZ’s favor is some great home form at the AFAS Stadion, with six wins, one draw and one loss in their eight home games, while scoring 20 goals and conceding just five – a record second only to Ajax themselves. In Alkmaar’s last three home games they have had three clean sheets – a phenomenal record.
Flying Ajax Hindered by Tough Week
But if Alkmaar have had a tricky week, Ajax’s has been even worse. A 1-0 defeat by Valencia at the Johan Cruijff Arena saw them exit the Champions League at the group stages – a huge disappointment for such a huge club, especially after reaching last season’s semifinals. It was doubly disappointing as they only needed to avoid defeat to progress and missed a hatful of goalscoring opportunities that would have taken them through.
The Valencia defeat was only their second of the season, and followed a surprise 2-0 home defeat last weekend to Willem II, so they will be desperate to avoid a third loss in a row in a season that, until this week, had been almost perfect.
Away from home, Ajax’s form has been outstanding with six wins, two draws and no losses, and they’ve scored no less than 24 times while conceding just 10.
AZ Alkmaar vs Ajax Head-to-Head
|12 / 16||Number of wins / Number of games||13 / 16|
|2||Number of losses||1|
|38 / 2.38||Number of goals scored / Per game||52 / 3.25|
|8 / 0.5||Number of goals conceded / Per game||14 / 0.88|
|210 / 101||Number of shots / Shots on target||288 / 138|
|2||Number of league titles won||34|
Best Attack vs Best Defense!
With the best attack coming up against the best defense, this becomes a hard one to call and will, without doubt, be the biggest test of the season so far of AZ’s title credentials. If they can keep a tight rein on Ajax’s free-scoring attackers, then it will be a signal they are in this race for the long haul.
But the fact Ajax have had such a rough week may count against AZ and it’s hard to see them being shut out. I expect to see Ajax take an early lead and, despite Alkmaar rallying well, then hanging on for the win that will extend their lead at the top of the table.
Pick: Ajax to win 3-1