PSV COMPLETE FRIENDLIES GAUNTLET… BARELY
Thanks to vacations, mainly Hirving Lozano, it was obvious it would take a while for the starting roster to gel together. Things would get worse as Nick Viergever would suffer a groin pull in training, leaving van Bommel even more short handed. A warm up friendly against Jong PSV (an easy 3-0 win) would help get everyone ready for a gauntlet of friendlies, but it always looked to be a tough task to get everyone match ready.
PSV’s friendly schedule was aggressive at the very least, with eight games scheduled (nine if you count Jong PSV) van Bommel’s roster depth would be tested also immediately. With two games a week, many only a day apart, everyone would need get in shape as quickly as possible.
“I’m going to need to take a two-team approach, I have this planned for later in the season, but I think it will be necessary now.” said van Bommel in his opening press conference to address concerns about preseason scheduling.
The “two-team” approach he mentioned became obvious quickly, with the roster split into first and second team lineups that were started in alternate fixtures. Starters from the previous match would be bench subs for the next, and players were expected to play at least 60 minutes a game if not the entire game instead of swapping out at the half. Based on the results, van Bommel doesn’t have much to worry about.
Putting aside the Jong PSV game, or even if you include it the results still shine, van Bommel squad cruised through their schedule with great ease and scored significantly more goals than expected from a “defensive” approach. Nobody is handing PSV any silverware for friendlies, but the results certainly have fans in Eindhoven buzzing. FC Den Bosch (6-0), VVV-Venlo (7-2), IJsselmeervogels (4-0), EA Guingamp (7-0), Cottbus (3-2), and Palermo (5-0) were all easily beaten with both first and second team lineups looking well prepared. The one outlier, Cottbus, was a team of all Jong PSV and U-19 players as van Bommel lined up his first team squad to face Benfica in their last friendly before the Dutch Super Cup against Feyenoord. They went up 3-0 before showing their youth and giving up two late goals.
Friendly (H) : Benfica 1 - PSV 3
This game had been scheduled as a bit of a litmus test, going up against a slightly bigger foreign club to see where the team was heading into the season, and van Bommel passed it easily.
Erick Gutiérrez started the scoring early, and Hirivng Lozano followed up with his first of the game to put PSV up 2-0. Benfica’s scored before the half to make it 2-1, proving the threat of a comeback, but in reality it wasn’t much of a contest. PSV strangled Benfica at every turn and they never really looked like a threat for much of the game. Lozano added a second near the end and sent Benfica packing.
Dutch Supercup (H) : Feyenoord 3 - PSV 1 (P)
After beating Benfica it would seem like PSV would not have much trouble dealing with Feyenoord
Things don’t always go as planned, and things can spiral out of control very quickly. Feyenoord looked to be on their heels for the entire first half as PSV were merciless but could not break the draw. They managed a series of corners that were either blocked by Kenneth Vermeer or headed clear by defenders. Van Bommel went into the half wondering how they were still deadlocked at 0-0.
Things collapsed just a few minutes after the second half started when a Gastón Pereiro red card (49’) put PSV down a man. Feyenoord would manage to hold out for a penalty shoot out as PSV missed numerous chances to win despite being short handed. The final humiliation came when Lozano blow an easy chance to put them up 1-0, but instead they went to penalties where Antonio Marin, Lozano, and Jorrit Hendrix missed the mark to give Feyenoord the win.
Friendly (A) : PSV 4 - Valladolid 0
After the disappointment of the Super Cup, van Bommel was rather vocal about his displeasure with the team. Reports floated out that the team took the hairdryer treatment well, and that their next opponent would face their wrath. Unfortunately for Valladolid, they were the next team to step on the field.
This was about as one-sided as PSV could have hoped for, and definitely showed van Bommel that they can do better when prodded. PSV had the ball for 59% of the game and racked up 38 shots with 15 on target while holding Valladolid to 4 and 2 on target. This was all with the second team squad, Eloy Room could have slept through this game. This turned out to be the moral boost everyone needed before the Eredivisie opener against FC Utrecht.