BRENDAN WIMBERLY - Friday, March 21, 2014
Aron Johannsson and seventh-place AZ host eighth-place PEC Zwolle this Sunday in a battle between two teams clinging on to spots in next year's Europa League.
Johannsson didn't make much noise last weekend when AZ fell to Dutch giant FC Twente on the road. Prior to last weekend's game however, the swift American striker had provided either a goal or an assist in AZ's last three games.
Johannsson has been outstanding for AZ so far this year. The Iceman has 16 goals so far, good enough for third in the Eredivisie, a league known for it's elite goal scorers.
Johannsson didn't score against Anzhi in Europa League this Thursday, nor did he need to as AZ grabbed a goalless tie on the road to advance to the quarter-finals.
Zwolle broke a five-game winless streak last weekend, taking down Go Ahead Eagles 2 - 0.
Though they don't have any goalscorers on the level of Johannsson, Zwolle have a dual threat at the top of their formation between Guyon Fernandez, who's bagged ten goals this season, and Fred Benson, who has seven.
Zwolle and AZ currently occupy the Eredivisie's final two spots in the Europa League play-offs. AZ currently have a three point cushion over Zwolle, but the visitors would skip past AZ in the standings with a win by two or more goals.
Dirk Marcellis is out long-term for AZ with a knee injury, and Jan Wuytens is also going to miss the game for the hosts due to a suspension.
On the other end, Giovanni Gravenbeek, Trent Sainsbury, and Leroy Labylle are all injured and unavailable for Zwolle.