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AZ Alkmaar vs Aston Villa LIVE: Emery’s in-form side set for tricky test in crunch European clash – kick-off time, team news and how to follow

Aston Villa will bid to take their impressive Premier League form into the Europa Conference League when they face AZ Alkmaar this evening.

Unai Emery’s side claimed their eleventh successive home victory by smashing West Ham 4-1 and are now just four points off the top.

Ollie Watkins has been on fire this season

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Ollie Watkins has been on fire this seasonCredit: Getty

But Villa have struggled considerably more on their travels, losing their only away European tie so far this season.

The west Midlanders fell to a 3-2 defeat to Legia Warszawa before getting back on track by beating Zrinjski Mostar.

That result meant that both the points and goal difference is level between all four teams in Group E.

And Villa will be desperate to put down a marker away at Alkmaar, who are just two points off Champions League outfit PSV at the top of the Eredivisie.

AZ Alkmaar vs Aston Villa: How to follow 

This Europa Conference League Group E clash will take place on Thursday, October 26. 

Kick-off at the AFAS Stadion in the Netherlands is scheduled for 5:45pm.

The game will be broadcast live on TNT Sports 2 with coverage beginning at 5pm. 

Fans can sign up to watch the action on TNT Sports for £29.99 per month. More details can be found here

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talkSPORT and talkSPORT.com will also keep you up to date with the latest. 

To tune in to talkSPORT or talkSPORT 2 through the website, click HERE for the live stream.

You can also listen via the talkSPORT app, on DAB digital radio, through your smart speaker and on 1089 or 1053 AM.

McGinn scored a 94th minute winner to seal Villa's first European win this season

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McGinn scored a 94th minute winner to seal Villa’s first European win this seasonCredit: Getty

AZ Alkmaar vs Aston Villa: Team news

AZ Alkmaar: Ryan, Sugawara, Bazoer, Penetra, Moller Wolfe, Clasie, De Wit, Mijnans, Sadiq, Van Brederode, Pavlidis.

Subs: Martins Indi, Dantas, Odgaard, Verhulst, Mihailovic, Van Bommel, Owusu-Oduro, Poku, Goudmijn, Kasius, Goes.

Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Carlos, Lenglet, Digne, Luiz, Kamara, Tielemans, Bailey, McGinn, Watkins.

Subs: Konsa, Traore, Torres, Chambers, Diaby, Zaniolo, Duran, Olsen, Dendoncker, Marschall.

Emery took struggling Villa to a seventh placed finish last term

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Emery took struggling Villa to a seventh placed finish last termCredit: Getty

AZ Alkmaar vs Aston Villa: What has been said?

Jamie Carragher has claimed that Emery is not an elite-level manager despite masterminding Villa’s stunning form.

Asked whether Villa would be able to maintain their form, Carragher told Sky Sports: “I mean maybe not.

“In terms of those numbers, when those numbers have been used over a long period of time they may even out.

“Since Unai Emery came in, they’ve outperformed themselves – and that might come from the manager and the belief he has given them. Ollie Watkins had a chance and missed and he said that would have affected him in the past, but then he finished late on. That is not just Ollie Watkins, that is also down to the manager.

“The one big thing that gives me belief that Aston Villa can stay in their position is Unai Emery. When you think of managers at the elite level, I think there are only two in the league in Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

“Then there’s managers that come behind who have had huge success, but maybe not any who have had the success that Unai Emery has had or the experiences of different jobs he has had. He’s had nine major trophies in his career – you think of managers in the Premier League who are doing great jobs, you think of Eddie Howe.”

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