Sparta Rotterdam vs AZ Alkmaar
Sparta Rotterdam didn't start the season in the best possible way, since the side lost to Venlo on the road and took a point in each next game, against Zwolle and Breda, but improved after the international break and managed to get their first three pointer of the season when the club hosted Twente last weekend and celebrated narrow 1:0 victory.
Only goal was scored in 18th minute via Goodwin, with the hosts having a bit better chances in the first halftime and maybe could have even scored second, while they were satisfied with the result later on and left the ball possession to the players of Twente, without being really threatening while the visitors themselves did very little in attack also. Sparta is now 12th at the table and maybe more important, having five points more than relegating trio of Twente, Roda and Willem II and surely want to continue with decent momentum.
Hosts are set to play in 4-2-3-1 formation with Ache as lone striker, plus Goodwin, Muhren and Brogno as offensive midfielders. Defender Janne Saksela remains long term absentee due injury who anyway didn't play so far in the season. No changes are expected in their team.
AZ Alkmaar, on the other side, couldn't do much more in the season opening game when the team suffered 3:2 defeat away from home against one of the strongest sides in the competition PSV, but the side went on and recorded next three victories early in the season. Firstly they won over Den Haag and Vitesse, but also looked decently well last weekend against Breda.
They were better in the first halftime and did deserve the lead, however goals came in second part via Helmer and Til in 55th and 58th minute, with the hosts remaining better on the field, while the guests weren't that dangerous and only reduced the deficit towards the end of the match from a penalty kick taken by Korte in 84th. AZ is now at sixth position, having three points less than leaders from Feyenoord and surely also want to continue their good momentum.
AZ Alkmaar, on the other side, will be playing in 4-3-3 formation, using Seuntjens and Helmer on the wings, plus Weghorst most likely as central striker. Forward Calvin Stengs (1/0) is injured and out, same as offensive Myron Boadu who didn't perform so far.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in AZ Alkmaar's last 8 away games (Eredivisie).
Sparta took the first victory of the season and surely are aiming to continue positive momentum and will seek for a victory here too. However, AZ stays a stronger side and surely is a favorite, however anything except an open play from both sides will be a surprise in this one for me.