AZ Alkmaar will finish third in the Eredivisie this season, a marked improvement upon last campaign’s sixth place. The disappointment of defeat in a second successive KNVB Beker final has been followed by a defeat to Ajax, and what has been a successful season looks like ending in an anticlimax. Zwolle will be hoping that AZ are as generous at the back on Sunday when the pair clash, as the visitors could yet claim a top seven finish with victory over their hosts. The second half of the season has been very poor for Zwolle, who at one stage before the winter break looked like they were going to challenge for the Champions League places.

When AZ played host to Zwolle in January’s KNVB Beker tie the first half was very competitive and close, but the game changed when Zwolle were reduced to ten-men. Weghorst broke the deadlock and put AZ in front in the twenty-first minute, but Zwolle hit back through Marinus shortly after the hour mark. Til netted in the thirty-ninth minute to assure AZ when in at the break a goal to the good. The game changed dramatically when in the fifty-fourth minute Zwolle goalkeeper Boer was shown a straight red card and the visitors had to take off an attacker to allow substitute keeper van der Hart to fill the void between the sticks. Zwolle never recovered from the loss of their first choice goalkeeper and on the hour mark AZ made it 3-1 when Idrissi was st up by Weghorst. Weghorst scored his second of the game to wrap up a 4-1 win in the seventy-first minute, and in truth the result was fair as AZ restricted Zwolle to just one shot on target during the ninety minutes.

With three wins and three defeats from their last six matches, AZ’s form has been hit and miss towards the end of the campaign, but its still more than enough to claim the title of form favourites ahead of Sunday’s game. Zwolle have lost four, won one, and drawn one of their last six matches, and won’t be full of confidence ahead of their trip to Alkmaar. Zwolle have failed to score in each of their last two matches which doesn’t bode well for Sunday’s game as AZ have the league current top goalscorer amongst their ranks. All of AZ’s last six matches have produced over 2.5 goals, and on two occasions during that period the Alkmaar club have won 3-0. AZ are unbeaten in their last five games against Zwolle, winning three times and drawing the other two.

Jahanbakhsh will be keen to earn the Eredivisie’s golden boot this season, and with eighteen goals to his name so far the Iranian striker is in a great position to achieve his target. Teammate Weghorst is just two goals behind his strike partner and did score twice in the cup against Zwolle, but the Dutchman picked up an injury and is likely to miss the game. Saymak top scores for the visitors with eleven league goals this season, but hasn’t registered in any of his last four appearances.

We’re confident that this game will feature over 2.5 goals but that only one team will do the scoring. AZ are due a win following two disappointing defeats and will be keen to end the season on a high in front of their adoring fans. As for a final score, we’re backing a convincing and comfortable 3-0 home win for AZ.

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