The Villans travel to AZ Alkmaar on Thursday evening, where the two favorites of Group E go head to head. The hosts are the underdogs going into the tie, but they will be confident that they can cause an upset.
De Kaasboeren are one of three unbeaten teams thus far in the Eredivise and their record of eight wins out of nine matches puts them in second place. Pascal Jansen's side have scored 25 times this season and they have only conceded four goals, which is an extremely impressive record. AZ Alkmaar also have the league's joint top scorer in attack, Vangelis Pavlidis, who has netted 13 goals.
That said, AZ Alkmaar are yet to assert their dominance in Europe this season, having won one of their two matches. Their opening match saw them suffer a shocking 4-3 defeat to HSK Zrinjski Mostar of Bosnia. The Dutch side were 3-0 up by half-time, but they conceded four goals in the second half. However, they were much more secure in their recent 1-0 victory over Legia Warszawa and they limited the polish side even with ten men for the last half an hour
Unai Emery's team have been one of the best to watch in the Premier League this season and their performances has put them in 5th place, winning six of their nine matches. Villa are the second highest goal scorers in the league, netting 23 times, and they haven't shown any signs of slowing down. Ollie Watkins has been instrumental to the way his side play due to his off the ball actions, link up play, and goal scoring ability. The English forward has picked up five assists and scored five goals, but he is yet to bag in the Europa Conference League.
Villa's recent away trip in Europe was a 3-2 shock defeat to Legia Warszawa. Emery's side went behind twice in the first half but by the break, the score was 2-2. The Polish side scored just after half-time but Aston Villa were unable to recover for a third time. They also struggled to break down HSK Zrinjski Mostar at Villa Park and it took a 94th minute John McGinn strike to win the tie.
Aston Villa and AZ Alkmaar are both in excellent form, but the visitors should be able to edge the hosts. Both teams are full of confidence and goals should be a guarantee, with Emery opting for a high line which Jansen will look to target.
The final prediction is AZ Alkmaar 1-2 Aston Villa.