AZ Alkmaar

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Round 7

AZ Alkmaar 2 - 1 Ajax
2022-09-18 16:45 More Reports
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2022-10-01 18:45 More Previews
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Season Guide
2022/2023

AZ Alkmaar

In


Jens Odgaard (att)(Sassuolo); Joris Kramer (def)(Go Ahead Eagles, end of loan); Mees De Wit (def)(PEC Zwolle); Mayckel Lahdo (att)(Hammarby); Zinho Vanheusden (def)(Inter, on loan);

Out


Zakaria Aboukhlal (sp)(att)(Toulouse); Mohamed Taabouni (mid)(released); Jeremy Helmer (att)(released); Kamal Sowah (sp)(mid)(Club Brugge, end of loan); Joris Kramer (def)(NEC Nijmegen, on loan); Jeremy Helmer (att)(released); Mees Bakker (gk)(De Graafschap, on loan); Owen Wijndal (r)(def)(Ajax); Beau Reus (gk)(SK Beveren);

Last season was not a bright one for AZ as they failed to make the top 4 for the first time in 5 years. At his first campaign fully in charge, coach Jansen only seldom managed to follow the path taken by his predecessor, Arne Slot, who had led the Alkmaaners close to the title, and his boys ended up on the 5th spot courtesy of 2 wins out of the last 9 games. If nothing else, they succeeded in qualifying to the Europa Conference League qualifying rounds via the playoffs. The defence was certainly the area that proved most fragile as AZ would often concede silly goals. Their summer was not a particularly active one in terms of transfers. In fact, they only lost one major protagonist in left-back Wijndal. Capable of 10 assists last season, he attracted Ajax interest and left for good cash. De Wit is set to replace him after a positive season at Zwolle. 18-year-old Kerkez, who did well in the ECL playoffs at the end of last campaign, could also be considered for the post. Right-winger Aboukhlal, who played a very small part in terms of actual playing time last season, despite making the field in 30 league games, asked to quit and was let go with no second thought as they are well covered in the post. The Dane Odgaard, coming off a forgettable experience in Italy, should represent the alternative for their main striker, Pavlidis. That is a kind of player they missed in the past campaign. For the defence, they signed 22-year-old Vanheusden, a very promising centre-back, whose past seasons have been plagued by injuries. He is expected to add depth to an area, where the likes of Hatzidiakos and Martins Indi also spent plenty of time in the sidelines last campaign. The midfield is an area they hardly touched and this could be a problem if veteran Clasie and Midtsjo end up injured.

Target


With a squad pretty similar to last season, but with a few youngsters having acquired some needed experience in the meantime, AZ could be fighting again for a top 4 finish.

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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