AZ Alkmaar

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Round 34

AZ Alkmaar 1 - 3 RKC Waalwijk
2022-05-15 14:30 More Reports
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Season Guide
2021/2022

AZ Alkmaar

In


Evangelos Pavlidis (att)(Willem II); Sam Beukema (def)(Go Ahead Eagles);

Out


Calvin Stengs (r)(att)(OGC Nice); Ferdy Druijf (att)(KV Mechelen, on loan); Jasper Schendelaar (gk)(PEC Zwolle); Jonas Svensson (r)(def)(Adana Demirspor); Joris Kramer (def)(Go Ahead Eagles, on loan); Kenzo Goudmijn (mid)(Sparta Rotterdam, on loan); Ramon Leeuwin (sp)(def)(Almere City FC); Rody de Boer (gk)(Roda JC Kerkrade); Thomas Ouwejan (def)(Schalke 04, on loan); Myron Boadu (k)(att)(AS Monaco); Marco Bizot (r)(gk)(Stade Rennais);

Having quite surprisingly become head coach in the middle of last season, after the unexpected sacking of Arne Slot, not much was expected of Pascal Jansen at AZ. As it happens, though, he smoothly managed to take the team to the top 3 of the Eredivisie, just 1 point off second-placed PSV. It is true that they had started the campaign with higher ambitions but Ajax turned out to be just too much for them. Thus, Jansen has been kept for the new season but he will be asked to work miracles if nothing happens, in terms of new signings, before the end of the transfer campaign. In fact, so far, AZ have mostly seen a great many of last season's players moving out. First of all, the experienced goalkeeper Bizot, with 65 clean sheets in 175 Eredivisie games, left for France while injury-prone right-back Svensson was lured away by Turkish money. However, it is the attack, who with 75 goals scored even more than PSV, that will be most dented by this semi-exodus, as 21-year-old Stengs, 7 goals and 5 assists last season, and 19-year-old Buadu, 38 goals and 18 assists in 88 games will now be playing in France. Together with them, AZ also let go a great numbers of fringe players or youngsters returning after the end of their loans away. The bad news for Jansen is that they have only signed 2 players so far. Beukema is expected to increase the depth at centre-back, an area that suffered a lot in terms of injuries last season, while 22-year-old Pavlidis, 28 goals and 12 assists in 73 Eredivisie games, will represent Buadu's replacement up-front. Not much for a team aiming at a place in the top 3.

Target


AZ might have to fight for a place in the European playoffs if they do not give Jansen at least one more player for every department. An unwelcome, but much-discussed, departure of captain Koopmeiners would severely hurt their ambitions.

Season Review
2020/2021

№3: AZ Alkmaar

After the past season, Arne Slot's first in charge, AZ expected a bright future ahead of them. When sitting in second spot only courtesy of a worse goal difference than Ajax (whom they had actually beaten twice) they saw the sudden end of the campaign caused by the Covid outbreak, Reality was different, though, as they failed to pick up any wins from their first 5 games in the new campaign. Despite dominating each one of them, they would regularly end up squandering all advantages momentarily obtained. The 4-4 away draw to Sparta Rotterdam, obtained despite a 4-goal lead, is a perfect portrait of their suicidal attitude. Then, Slot tightened the defence and 4 wins followed suit but the rumours that the coach was in talks with Feyenoord for a move to Rotterdam at the end of the season led to his immediate and shocking sacking. Pascal Jansen, Slot’s assistant, was handed the reins of the team and, despite a poor debut, a 1-2 home defeat to Groningen, he managed to lead the ship to safety. Between weeks 12 and 34, AZ collected 17 wins, 3 draws and 4 defeats only. Despite their vehement push, often matched by bright football, they failed to go further than the 3rd spot, 17 points away from Ajax. 20-year-old Boadu (15 goals and 1 assist), captain Koopmeiners (15/5) and Karlsson (11/10) all managed to repeat the good done in the previous campaign while 23-year-old De Wit (4/3) actually ended up losing his starting status in the course of the season. With 41 goals conceded, AZ held the 6th best defence of the league and it is not surprising, especially considering that left-back Wijndal aside, who played all the games, all the other starters missed chunks of the season because of injuries. With coach Jansen confirmed for the next season, AZ will go for another campaign among the top teams but a lot will depend on how many of their stars will be quitting over the summer. In fact, Koopmeiners and Boadu might already have their luggage ready.


Player of the Season: Teun Koopmeiners

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