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de Rood-Witten

A PSV Eindhoven Story
Started on 19 February 2019 by OohAhCantona / First Post
Latest Reply on 16 June 2019 by ScottT / Last Post
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FRIENDLIES & SUPERCUP MARK BEGINNING OF TITLE DEFENSE

Phase II started fairly well and Mark van Bommel is heading into the beginning of the season on a solid streak of results. With the Euro Cup and Olympics occupying a number of key players the new youngsters being thrown in the deep end of the pool got plenty of playing time, and so far it looks like van Bommel’s gamble is paying off.

Friendly (H) : PSV 4 - Lommel SK 1
Friendly (A) : KSV Cercle Brugge 1 - PSV 3
Friendly (A) : Bayer Leverkusen 2 - PSV 5
Friendly (A) : KFC Turnhout 0 - PSV 4
Friendly (A) : RB Leipzig 1 - PSV 1

Three of the games were against small teams that PSV were expected to win, but they did pull out some impressive results against big teams. The 5-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen was a great result as they managed to pour it on against a solid team from a bigger league with a player (Kai Havertz) most would consider to be much better than anyone on PSV’s roster. The most surprising result would be the draw against RB Leipzig, van Bommel had to rest a number of players to be ready for the KNVB Super Cup and sent out their ‘C’ team with a number of Jong PSV players. After going down 1-0 early the youngsters managed to pull one back later in the game and hold off a team much better than them.

The KNVB Super Cup against Ajax would be their first real test with a mostly full roster but tactical familiarity will not be an issue. Ajax has also been a thorn in van Bommel side so despite the low importance of the match it would mean a lot to him to add more silverware at Ajax’s expense.

DUTCH SUPER CUP

KNVB Super Cup (H) : PSV 1 - Ajax 0


With even odds coming into this game van Bommel was rather measured with his comments in the media, with so many changes and Pelayo Morilla still at the Olympics there would be room for Ajax to tip this one in their favor. David Neres, Walter González, Moussa Sissoko, Nicolás Tagliafico, and Daley Blind were still around so Vincenzo Montella would still have the players to win.

“If we want to pass Ajax, we will need to go through them.”

The final result wasn’t the best reflection of the game, but PSV managed to do enough to keep the score line safe for the bulk of the game. Ajax’s 4-1-2-3 formation did the trick of slowing down PSV’s attack and luck fell on their side with Bruno Henrique’s strike just before the half the only goal. Despite a massive advantage in shots, shots on target, and possession the single goal difference would keep Ajax’s hopes within reach all game. Ajax’s saving grace was new GK Erik de Wit, only (17), as he made numerous quality saves to keep them in the game.

Few players had impressive games with only (3) players rating above 7.0, all of them on PSV, with Antônio Carlos the Player of the Match with an 8.2 and the assist on Bruno Henrique’s goal. Antônio Carlos has continued his ascent after a great 2019-20 season and Euro Cup run, it won’t be long before even more teams come pounding on the door for his services.
pfffft comfortable win over Ajax, the scoreline probably doesn't do the other stats any justice!
The score-line certainly doesn't do you justice there. Far too comfortable!

MASSIVE ROSTER PURGE STARTS PHASE II

PSV fans must have been heartbroken as the summer transfers flew, seeing a massive chunk of the senior roster leave for bigger paychecks is never fun. That being said, van Bommel and Gerbrands have been unwavering in their public and private support for these moves.

“This is the business of football” said Gerbrands during an interview with KVNB TV “bigger teams come to buy our players, they can pay them more. If they want to leave, if they don’t want to play here, they can go.”

Transfer sagas that started last season ended almost immediately after, Maxilimiano Romero had been demanding a move since the beginning of last season but settled for a pay hike and a new contract . Erick Gutiérrez was also tempted by transfer offers and extracted a promise to be sold at the end of the season which saw him leave for Porto at a cut rate as they were the only serious bidder. Derrick Lukassen also wanted to leave along with Trent Sainsbury and Daniel Schwaab, the latter two felt they had been pushed out of the team by the arrival of César Montes and Bruno Viana. Marlon Frey, despite his goal scoring heroics, has been deemed surplus to requirements. Antonio Valencia’s contract expired and was not offered a new one. All of this resulted in a large influx of cash that PSV is happy to sit on and invest as needed, they will also have some younger players deserving of new contracts.

“Young players know they will play here” said van Bommel, sitting next to Gerbrands “we have a lot of great young players that want to play. We gave Antonio [Marin] a chance, so we will have faith in the others.”

Part of van Bommel’s confidence comes from surprising returns from the youth system. While a few of the promoted players were well known prior to being brought to the senior squad, some of them rose from the ranks to show PSV had more talent than they knew.

The most frustrating part of the purge was the circling vultures who thought everyone was available. After going under the radar for two seasons everyone came calling for Antonio Marin, who was definitely not for sale, and things got out of hand quickly. Borussia Dortmund got the ball rolling with a £26M offer that eventually made its way up to £42M after a few offers were rejected. BVB were followed by Bayern Munich, Inter, Bayer Leverkusen, Porto, Chelsea, AS Monaco, Manchester United, Tottenham, and RB Leipzig. Most of the offers landed in the £26M to £45M, bids that had no chance of prying away PSV’s best player, but the involvement of PSG started some unwanted drama. PSG’s initial £29M was rejected and Marin became upset as he suddenly wanted to move to a bigger club and more prestigious league, but with his contract ending in 2024 he didn’t have much leverage. Things started to get interesting as the super rich clubs started to throw their weight around, PSG followed up their initial bid with a £65M offer that was quickly matched by Chelsea. Inside sources report that the next bid set off a long meeting between van Bommel and Toon Gerbrands, a £77M offer from Manchester United represented a King’s ransom for PSV but they ultimately decided to wait it out. Marin was too much of an asset to let go, even at that price. Plus, with all of the other departures the transfer budget had swelled to the point that PSV were not hurting for cash.

Senior Transfers (Out)
Bart Ramselaar (CM, Celtic) £1.3M
Willian Arão (CM, Villareal) £1.5M
Marlon Frey (CM, Lausanne) £2.9M
Ryan Thomas (CM, Real San Sebastián) £4.1M
Lars Unnerstall (GK, Feyenoord) £4.6M
Eugene Konoplyanka (LW, Villarreal) £4.8M
Erick Gutiérrez (CM, Porto) £5.75M
Robert Arboleda (CB, AS Monaco) £6M
Angeliño (LB, Wolverhampton) £8.75M
Nick Viergever (LB, Olympique Lyon) £10.75M
Derrick Luckassen (CB, AS Monaco) £10.5M
Luuk de Jong (ST, Leicester) £12.75M
Steven Bergwijn (RW, Arsenal) £17.75M

Senior Transfers (In)
None

Final Transfer List (Impact Signings)
Patrick Kiefer (LW, AKA Vorarlberg - Germany) £10,000
Domingos Guerreiro (ST, Preston North End - Portugal) £1.7M
Saad Salama (LB, AS Monaco - Egypt) £3.0M
Asier Martín (LW, Eibar - Spain) £3.5M
Guillaume Cantona (ST, Olympique Lyon - France) £7.5M

With so much money in the bank some of the new signing barely dented the budget but one really jumped out. The signing of Guillaume Cantona represents one of the most expensive youngster purchases under van Bommel, the early buzz is that they could have paid much more and it still would have been a bargain. Cantona already plays the advanced forward role and might give Bakayoko a run for his money as the paciest player in the organization.

In international news PSV was well represented at the 2020 Euro Cup. France defeated Holland 2-1 in the final with Antônio Carlos, Luuk de Jong and Tonny Vilhena selected as Euro Cup Dream Team subs. The Dream Team featured (6) Dutch players with Jetro Willems, Memphis Depay, and Virgil van Dijk making the cut.
A lot of departures there, but the main thing is that you've managed to hold onto Marin despite some doubts. His impact has been instrumental to your success and so it's understandable to see why you were so reluctant to let him go, even for such a large fee.
You’ve done extremely well to win the Champions League. It isn’t easy with a Dutch team, as i know from previous experience, but you’ve made it look easy. Congratulations, enjoy the success and hopefully you continue it.

AUGUST : THE TITLE DEFENSE BEGINS!

The first month of the season would prove to be extremely promising for PSV and with De Topper Derby as the opening game of their league season it couldn’t have been more exciting. The tense 1-0 victory over Ajax in the KNVB Super Cup would leave both teams itching for a rematch and on some level PSV were still upset about their one loss in the league last year. PSV fans were quick to point out their (33) victories and the Ajax fans were quick to remind them of that single loss.

Eredivisie (H) : PSV 6 - Ajax 2


The captain bands were on display in the KNVB Cup, but today officially marked Jack Butland’s first as team captain. With just about everyone leaving town it seemed a fairly obvious choice, the same with Tonny Vilhena being named Vice Captain. Despite the pomp surrounding their appointment things looked a little dour heading into this game, the oddsmakers were definitely not buying PSV’s rebuild with PSV a very very slight favorite to win. Pelayo Morilla would miss this game after a deep run in the Olympics with Spain’s U-23 squad, so Marco der Meyde would be forced into the CAM position with backup Wim de Boom recovering from injury.

It only took 4’ for van Bommel’s new No. 9 to put PSV up 1-0, putting Ajax in a hole just about right out of the gate. An ill advised kick to Bruno Henrique’s calf by Rasmus Nissen Kristensen got him booked and gave PSV a free kick on the far side of the box. Ryan Gravenberch floated the kick across the box for Antonio Marin to knock it down and into the path of Maximiliano Romero just in front of Erik de Wit in goal, a tap was all it took to put it in. Marin added one of his own at 14’ and things really started to look dark for Ajax, their performance in the KNVB Cup was looking more and more like a fluke. Ajax managed to sort themselves out after the second goal, but they still found themselves struggling. Walter González, on an incredible shot, broke the shutout at 39’ and brought Ajax back into the game. A corner was deflected out and PSV started to push out of the box when the ball landed at González’s feet just above the right side of the arc, his shot curled slightly to the post and found the side netting before PSV even knew the ball was headed the other way. Jack Butland did his best, but with all the traffic he just couldn’t see it until it was too late. With Ajax still riding high Antônio Carlos answered back just a few minutes later and took all the air out of the González goal and sent PSV into the half up 3-1.

Thanks to all the goals and exciting play the fact that three players were injured in the first half went under the radar. Bruno Henrique left with a leg injury after 17’, likely due to the kicking he took earlier, and was replaced by Prince Diomandé. After 30’ Nicolás Tagliafico started limping to join Moussa Sissoko who started the game at less than 100%, the two of them barely made it past 60’ and looked like they should have been left out of the team. The physical drain really hit Ajax hard as the second half went on and Diomandé’s first goal of the season at 64’ was the start of a deluge. Romero scored again at 85’ to put PSV up 5-1, it barely mattered when Roger Assalé scored a few minutes later and the final nail was Diomandé’s second in injury time for a surprising 6-2 victory.

“That was a decent start” stated van Bommel with his usually steely stare “we have some things to work on, but the season has only started. Ajax aren’t going away just yet.”

While van Bommel has played an attacking style of football since taking over it is well known that he values defense over goals. Most fans are focused on the (6) goals, especially in De Topper, but the (2) allowed will likeley be the focus of van Bommel’s training sessions in the coming weeks. PSV will also be without Bruno Henrique for 2-3 weeks after being diagnosed with a pulled calf muscle. Diomandé will get a chance to start with the first team until he gets back or gets injured himself.

EREDIVISIE DEFENSE STARTS STRONG

After pouring it on against Ajax things would get much worse for the rest of the league. PSV would win a tight 1-0 road game against Sparta Rotterdam and then go on a scoring spree that would help build their confidence for the looming European Supercup game against Manchester United. A 3-0 win against Excelsior and a 6-0 demolition of FC Den Haag would put PSV right where it left off last season. The Den Bosch game would be a “perfect” performance for van Bommel as PSV allowed no shots and didn’t get a single card.

The only bad news out of this stretch was the loss of Maximiliano Romero who would leave the Excelsior game with a thigh injury. Romero’s injury would turn out to be a torn hamstring that would keep him out for (2) months, missing him would be a devastating blow and van Bommel’s first losing gamble of the season. Rinus Bakayoko becomes the first team starter with Erwin de Winter moving from Jong PSV to the second team. Bruno Henrique’s injury would also open up the door for Prince Diomande in the first squad, an opportunity he wouldn’t waste. With all the attention on Andrès Senkye, AS Monaco put in an 8.5M offer for him, Diomande jumped him in the pecking order and put in an incredible performance against Den Haag which should encourage Bruno Henrique to hurry back.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE & KNVB DRAW

For the second year in a row PSV were given a gift in the Champions League draw. It looks like van Bommel will have the perfect blend of difficulty and relative ease to get his young squad ready for the bright lights of Europe.

Group E
PSV (Netherlands)
Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
Young Boys (Switzerland)

Group E turns out to be one of the easiest groups if not the easiest to advance from. It will be tough to win with Borussia Dortmund to beat and Shakhtar Donetsk ready to put up a fight, but PSV should be able to advance ahead of the Ukrainians and Young Boys. PSV fans can also breath easy, or indulge in some schadenfreude, as Ajax lands squarely in the Group of Death. Group A includes Barcelona, PSG, Inter, and Ajax to form the most difficult draw this year. Group A (Manchester United, Sevilla, and Napoli) and Group G (Real Madrid, Liverpool, and RB Leipzig) formed the other groups in the running.

The first round of the KNVB Cup would pit PSV against a Keuken Kampioen Divisie side in Helmond Sport, few give Helmond Sport much of a chance in the matchup.
A good start to the campaign and a fairly comfortable group, in comparison to what you may have got. I suspect a very strong season once again is on the cards.

SEPTEMBER : BITTER MEDICINE LIGHTS FIRE

Winning the Champions League comes with some additional obligations and PSV packed their bags for a trip to Estádio do Dragão in Portugal for the European Super Cup against Manchester United. The game turned out to be more trouble than it was worth as Mark van Bommel found himself short handed and forced to play some players he would rather have left on the bench. Manchester United were already solid favorites before Antônio Carlos sprained his left knee ligaments in practice, the injury would keep him out for at least (5) weeks of total roster hell for PSV. Antonio Marin would still be on international duty so PSV went into this game without two of their best players and a severely weakened right side of the field.

Things didn't go well at all as PSV fell 3-1, their test against a big European power showed van Bommel that they still have a long way to go if they plan on getting very far in the Champions League. To be fair PSV finished the game down a man after Tonny Vilhena was booked twice, and Danilo Boldewijn came in as a sub and promptly gave away a goal in a manner only a teenager could. Boldewijn got an earful from van Bommel as the teams left the field, but anyone who’s been around the club knows that everyone gets the hairdryer treatment from time to time.

The disappointing result would be quickly forgotten as PSV returned to form in the Eredivisie by beating up FC Groningen 2-0 at home. Despite the win van Bommel would have more troubles heaped on him when Boldewijn would be injured in training and be out up to (4) weeks. At this rate van Bommel will need to suit up, his defensive options are rapidly dwindling.

Champions League (A) : Borussia Dortmund 0 - PSV 0


If PSV fans were looking forward to an away game this season it would be the trip to Signal Iduna Park for one of the best gameday atmospheres in Europe. While most PSV fans would appreciate the experience nobody would like the banner of Antonio Marin in a BVB kit that was unfurled opposite the visitors end. With Pulisic leaving for Arsenal the previous season on a 51M transfer and BVB aggressively trying to sign Marin it was only natural for the media to whip up some animosity between the fans, it didn’t help that the Dortmund fans were more than willing to stir things up.

Despite being favored BVB found themselves in a bit of a bind on the attack as Lucien Favre was playing Paco Alcácer out of position at RW, a position more suited to a new signing like Marin, and Abdou Diallo at LB up against Marin and Ivanildo Wennemars. The hosts looked good on paper but PSV took the game to them and felt hard done-by when they only took a point from it. Both teams played fast paced attacking football with BVB finding themselves on the defensive more than they would have liked, but everyone in attendance left feeling like they saw a great game.

Even with so much of the ball PSV just couldn’t connect and Marco der Meyde became a bit of a goat. Playing in the BBM role he would have a number of opportunities to come into the box late and catch BVB off guard, but instead of coming into the box for a shot der Meyde got a little antsy and started taking them well outside of the box from a range that would be called hopeful at best. At 65’ BVB looked like they were going to turn the affair in their favor after a free kick into the box resulted in a penalty after Pelayo Morilla got caught pulling on Marco Reus’ shirt. Much to their dismay Jack Butland blocked the attempt from Alcácer to keep it 0-0. Butland has proven to be a mastermind on penalties and his heroics saved PSV once again, Marin is going to need to step up his game if he doesn’t want to be supplanted.

“We did well, but nobody can tell me we shouldn’t have won that game” admitted van Bommel afterwards.

The respectable draw puts the hardest fixture of the group behind them although van Bommel will not be looking forward to the game at Shakhtar Donetsk. PSV hasn’t had the smoothest of times in that area of the world, at least they won’t have to visit Moscow.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW UNLEASHED DE ROOD-WITTEN DRAGON

It’s no secret that van Bommel doesn’t rest on his laurels and doesn’t allow his team to accept anything but their best. This can be grating for some, especially his players, but for the most part it drives everyone to do their best. While the draw at Signal Iduna Park was not a bad result, especially in the face of one of the best crowds in Europe, it was motivation for PSV to improve. The remainder of September was less improvement and more PSV just taking it out on everyone.


Early results make roster purge look like a substantial improvement.

Domestic squads were left looking like they had been hit by a train with PSV winning 3-0 (N.E.C. Nijmgen), 6-0 (Helmond Sport), and 6-0 (Heralces Almelo) on their way to a visit from Shakhtar Donetesk. The KNVB Cup game against Helmond Sport could be put down to them having (2) players ejected by 81’, an easy way to give up (6) goals, but Heracles Almelo was just a straight beating. It wasn’t all great as more injured players crowded into PSV’s state of the art medical facilities. Antônio Carlos and Danilo Boldewijn would be joined by Boudewijn Dembélé, out 2-4 weeks with a pulled calf, dealing a serious blow to van Bommel’s defensive depth. A looming international break and drawing Willem II in the second round of the KNVB Cup might be the break PSV needs, but if players keep getting injured like this it won’t matter.

Champions League (H) : PSV 3 - Shakhtar Donetsk 0


After easily disposing of Young Boys in the first game Shakhtar Donetsk would be more than ready for the trip to Eindhoven. Both teams are currently undefeated in league play and the summer purchase of André Onana from Ajax would put a familiar face in goal, at least one player from Shakhtar would have experience in the Philips Stadion.

The visitors started off on the wrong foot and attempted to get back on track by incessantly fouling PSV. It’s surprising that nobody was sent off and Shakhtar’s players weren’t booked more often, van Bommel was summoned from the bench a number of times to protest a few of the more aggressive fouls to no avail. In fact van Bommel may have been using the fouls as an excuse to vent as Bruno Henrique put on an absolutely brutal performance. After Antonio Marin scored on a much deserved penalty at 33’ the game turned into a comedy of errors and frustration for Bruno Henrique. The left winger would have little trouble beating his defenders, with all of the attention across the field with Marin and Ivanildo Wennemars he seemed to have the field to himself. Bruno Henrique cut inside from the wing again and again to find a lane toward the penalty spot only to send the ball sailing into the stands. At one point the entire bench could be seen hanging their heads, it even got to a point where it seemed like Shakhtar was relying on this. The defense stayed wider to prevent Philippe Wiltord from getting the ball in space and crossing to Marin, and it worked really well.

The second half started nearly the same way, at least PSV were up 1-0, but things finally went Bruno Henrique’s way at 60’ when he put one on target and beat Onana. The 2-0 scoreline seemed to crush the visitors and they transitioned into damage control, but it didn’t work all that well. Bruno Henrique did something he hadn’t done all game at 78’, getting the ball out wide he looked to cut inside before looking up to see Marin heading toward the far post and served up a great ball that Marin headed in for a 3-0 lead. That would do it for the game, a better than expected win combined with Borussia Dortmund drawing 1-1 with Young Boys would put PSV in 1st with a good goal differential.

OCTOBER : CAN ANYONE STAY HEALTHY?!

PSV headed into a much needed international break after an easy 4-0 win over FC Twente and needed every second of down time to recover. Normally international play would represent a drain on the roster but so many key players are injured they would stay in Eindhoven for medical treatment. Antônio Carlos and Boudewijn Dembélé would be left out of the Dutch squad due to injury and van Bommel would do anything to get them back as quickly as possible. Valentyn Alimov, an emergency option when the season started, has been getting a lot of playing time with all the injuries on defense and has held his own but really needs to be at Jong PSV or coming off the bench. There is also the crisis at CB that Dembélé could help fix, van Bommel is literally moving the few true defensive midfielders they have to CB to prepare for the worst.

While it doesn’t help the team immediately, which set fans and the media to questioning Toon Gerbrands spending habits, PSV landed a few more very promising prospects at some rather high prices. Two of the purchases (Zico and Makis Bollos) have been on PSV’s radar but they held out and their asking prices shot up.

October Transfer List (Impact Signings)
Mauricio Torrico (CM, Sport Boys Warnes - Bolivia) £250,000
Zico (DM, Santos - Brazil) £7M
Makis Bollos (ST, GSS Panionios - Greece) £7M

Spending a total of £14M on two prospects drew the ire of fans as PSV didn’t sign anyone to the senior squad. The slew of injuries is making that decision look very bad right now, but Gerbrands and van Bommel has stood firm on their approach to Phase II.

Champions League (A) : Young Boys 0 - PSV 7


A trip to Bern would be PSV’s reward after a comfortable 2-0 win over Willem II in the KNVB Cup, with the best part being the full return of Antônio Carlos and Dembélé. The two would be ready for Willem II, but van Bommel decided that the Champions League would be a better time to reinstall Antônio Carlos in the starting lineup. As things turned out, it probably wasn’t totally necessary to bring him back for this game but he needs to build his match fitness and van Bommel needs to get his regular rotation back in order.

It only took 9’ for this game to turn into a personal nightmare for Young Boys’ keeper David Von Ballmoos after Bruno Henrique took a through ball from Pelayo Morilla and scored. It wasn’t totally Ballmoos’ fault, the rest of the team registered some truly awful ratings with only three players staying above 6.0 on the day. André Almeida (4.2) had one of the worst games of his career as the left side of PSV’s team ate him alive, and he didn’t do much to help Ballmoos staunch the bleeding. Ballmoos faced (17) shots on target and let in (7) of them, not a ratio anyone would be happy about.

PSV scored in so many different ways and just kept it up that Young Boys didn’t seem to know what to do. The fact that (6) different players scored made the win even more impressive, the only position that didn’t score was the deep lying central midfield. To be fair, Ryan Gravenberch handles corners so it would be harder for him to join in on the scoring. The win would give PSV a really great gol differential and push them to 1st in Group E on (7) points with BVB trailing behind them.


EREDIVISIE RETURN IS MARRED BY MORE INJURIES

After the blowout win in the Champions League PSV went right back to ripping apart the Eredivisie, but in keeping with the theme of this season more players were injured or suspended. Back-to-back home games would result in two 4-0 wins over ADO Den Haag and FC Eindhoven in the Lichtstad Derby, and each game would deal a blow to the roster.

In a series of events that should show that the Football Gods are cruel Wim Havekotte would sprain his ankle ligaments prior to the ADO Den Haag game and be ruled out for about (3) weeks. Valentyn Alimov would still be relied upon to start at LB, but that quickly changed when he was injured during the game and ruled out for (3) weeks as well with a pulled hamstring. This would bring Eric van de Brink and Willem van den Bleecker up from Jong PSV and the U-19 squad to fill in as emergency emergency options. At least PSV would get Dembélé and Boldewijn back together in the middle of the back line, at this point any healthy player is more than welcome.

The revitalized Lichtstad Derby, with FC Eindhoven earning promotion last year, would mark an infuriating milestone with the first red card of the season. Just 9’ into the game, after scoring a goal himself, Pelayo Morilla would be tossed for a brutal slide tackle from behind. The booking was well deserved along with the lecture he got on his way off the field, van Bommel was more than displeased by the nature of his ejection. Ultimately it didn’t matter as PSV’s 4-2-3 continued to prove its effectiveness on the way to a 4-0 victory.

NOVEMBER : THE WINNING WOUNDED

Champions League (H) : PSV 3 - Young Boys 1


After whipping AZ Alkmaar 5-0 on the road it was time to try and do the same to Young Boys at home. The storm of injuries looked to be breaking as Maximiliano Romero returned to training, but he would still sit this one out as Rinus Bakayoko would probably cede his position after the international break in a few weeks. Mark van Bommel would also get a gift before kick off as Borussia Dortmund would lose 2-1 to Shakhtar Donetsk, a win today would open up second in the group and put PSV way ahead.

It only took 6’ for PSV to take a lead and Young Boys never really looked like pulling even as a team. Christian Fassnacht had the game of his life as Philippe Wiltord and Bruno Henrique had off days on their defensive duties. The hosts poured it on as usual and seriously out-shot Young Boys, scoring again at 30’ when Bakayoko showed his incredible speed and poked one past David von Ballmoos.

PSV went right back to holding the ball most of the time in the second half and poured some salt in the wound when Antonio Marin scored late in the game, adding another score to his great season, and Group G looked to be theirs. With stoppage time winding down disaster struck PSV’s attempt to appear invincible when Young Boys scored. An offensive press nearly resulted in a goal but von Ballmoos booted the ball out and started an unlikely counter attack for Young Boys. Adam Ounas collected the ball and booted it forward for a sprinting Fassnacht who ran around the right side to open up a shot around César Montes and sent it back across the goal to catch the left side netting. While it would do nothing to change the result it would break PSV’s incredible (12) game streak of shutouts spanning back to their 3-1 loss to Manchester United.

INTERNATIONAL BREAK

Things were going so well for PSV, Romero was back in training and they followed up the win against Young Boys with a tight 2-0 over Utrecht. Valentyn Alimove and Wim Havekotte would return to training, a true blessing considering the desperate need for wing backs, and it seemed like PSV was turning a corner on health issues. Unfortunately for van Bommel, the Football Gods are cruel and Antônio Carlos would suffer a groin strain in training and be out for another 3-4 weeks.

The news of Antônio Carlos’ injury would send fans into a spiral of depression, it would be hard to tell they were winning almost every game with the way the media was talking about his injury. All of the teeth gnashing distracted from PSV signing a truly incredible youngster, perhaps if he was a RB instead it might have drawn more attention.

Florian Richard (LB, Rennes - France) - £8.5M

For what would be an eye watering sum for the Dutch champions they would land one of the most exciting wing backs in Europe. Richard was already starting for Rennes at only 18, and he looks like an immediate bench option for PSV. Philippe Wiltord isn’t going anywhere, but with the rash of injuries Richard might find himself in the second squad before he knows it.

Champions League (H) : PSV 5 - Borussia Dortmund 1


The dark stormcloud over van Bommel was practically visible before the game even started, all of his interviews in the run up were rather terse and lacked some of his usual humility. The loss of Antônio Carlos was compounded right out of the international break when Thierry Okoye suffered sprained knee ligaments the day before PSV’s 1-0 win over PEC Zwolle. The injury would keep him out 4-5 weeks and van Bommel would need to go hunting for more replacements.

“It isn’t good, so many injured players” sighed van Bommel in a PSV TV interview “we have our feet to the fire now.”

Maximiliano Romero would finally be back in the lineup for this game, but it was partially due to Rinus Bakayoko recovering from a minor injury of his own. PSV keep winning, but most of the injuries suffered have knocked out players for weeks.

Most pundits assumed BVB would come out firing on all cylinders for this game as a win could save their qualification campaign. A win for PSV would clinch the group and open up the next round to everyone else, and it started to look good for the hosts almost immediately. With scouts from Manchester United, PSG, and Chelsea conspicuously in attendance Marcos Reus put the visitors up 1-0 on a penalty after the crafty veteran drew a foul from Pelayo Morilla. It was looking like BVB might be able to flip this one in their favor until Antonio Marin scored a crazy goal that helped add to his ever expanding legend. A free kick on the far left a few paces outside the box would hit Exequiel Palacios in the head right in the middle of the wall, but the rebound would head down and to the right just in Marin’s path. With most members of the wall flinching they didn’t react fast enough and Marin would hammer the rebound into the net and leave Roman Bürki on the ground wondering what just happened.

The rest of the game would turn into an unmitigated disaster for the Germans as PSV killed them on sloppy and pointless changes of possession.BVB took to favoring long balls into PSV’s half that found nobody but red and white stripes waiting for it, ruining any chance of making an assault on goal. Things went a little south for PSV when Marin took a slight knock after halftime, leaving fans and van Bommel holding their breath as he limped off at 53’ with an ankle injury. The hosts would already be up 2-0, but it felt pointless if Marin would be out for weeks. Bruno Henrique would score just two minutes later to put BVB in an even deeper hole that they wouldn’t get close to climbing out of. The highlight of the game for BVB would be Paco Alcácer stealing the ball from a lackadaisical Bruno Viana at the back and making a lighting quick attack on goal to set up a one-on-one with Jack Butland. Unfortunately for Alcácer he ended up face to face with one of the hottest keepers on the planet and Butland blocked the shot to send the home crowd into a frenzy.


BVB put on a disappointing display.

The win would clinch the group and make the final game a dead rubber for PSV, everyone else would have a shot at second but it would mean beating PSV for Shakhtar Donetsk. There would be more good news for van Bommel as Marin would check out after the game, and schadenfreude connoisseurs would be delighted to see Barcelona win 4-2 over Ajax to put them 4th in their group and basically eliminate them from the competition.

DECEMBER : PLEASE, STOP THE HURTING

PSV has moved from “bad luck” to being concerned about health of their players as the fans and media start to focus in on the mounting injuries. Every team suffers injuries, but PSV has been hit especially hard by long term injuries over and over again. The month of December wouldn’t bring any respite, in fact things got much worse.

The excitement of a 4-0 win over NAC Breda was wiped out by Tonny Vilhena tearing an abdominal muscle and being ruled out for (2) months. If that wasn’t bad enough PSV was dealt a further blow while not-winning their first league game of the season in a disastrous 1-1 draw to sc Heerenveen. The draw was likely the direct result of two injuries, one of them serious, when Wim de Boom damaged his cruciate ligament while filling in as a deep lying central midfielder and Prince Diomandé decided to join him with a pulled calf muscle. A dubious penalty late in the game surrendered the point to sc Heerenveen, but van Bommel was out of options as de Boom was already forced to play out of position. The injuries would cost de Boom 6-7 months, essentially ending his season, and Diomandé 2-4 weeks. Losing a player for a week or two is one thing, but months is something van Bommel is going to have trouble stomaching.

“It is troubling, I will not lie” admitted van Bommel “and we are looking at our training, at treatment, it’s time to consider this may not be luck. We have to.”

Champions League (A) : Shakhtar Donetsk 0 - PSV 3


This game meant nothing to PSV in terms of qualification, they had already clinched first in the group, but van Bommel is not one to lie down in the face of competition. A visit to Ukraine didn’t have the same intensity of one to Moscow, a city PSV fans remember well, but European competition is still the best in the world.

Shaktar needed to win this game to advance and they watched their chances shrivel up after things started to fall apart just 11’ into the game. The first omen of failure was a penalty at 11’ that Maxym Malyshev had blocked by Jack Butland, again worth his weight in gold, and things got much worse soon after. Raniel would land an absolutely brutal tackle on Ryan Gravenberch from behind, a two footed tackle that could have easily injured Gravenberch, and the ref showed him red immediately. With only (10) men it seemed like the game was over, even the home crowd was laying into the team and barely 20’ had passed. It took 35’ for Maximiliano Romero to break down the Ukrainians, and he would make it 2-0 in stoppage time of the first half.

PSV would score again in the second half to seal a 3-0 win, but more importantly there was yet another serious injury. Pelayo Morilla would need to be stretchered off after 50’ with a leg injury which would later be confirmed as a torn calf muscle. Now van Bommel would be without his starting CAM for (3) months and his backup for at least (6) months.

As if all the injuries weren’t bad enough van Bommel and PSV’s fans would get some additional bad news after the game. Sitting 4th in their group and all but eliminated, Ajax would beat PSG 1-0 and Barcelona would whip Inter 4-1 to vault Ajax in 2nd and punch their ticket for the knockout round. The only thing that would temper their disappointment would be the improved standing of the Eredivisie, drawing Porto for the knockout round, and seeing Ajax land Liverpool for their matchup.


Eredivisie (H) : PSV 6 - Sparta 0


The midpoint of the season would be full of good news for PSV’s present and future after a minor scare. PSV would defeat FC Eindhoven 4-1 in the KNVB Cup version of the Lichtstad Derby to earn their way to a Quarter Final matchup with Feyenoord. The scare would come the day before the game as Jack Butland would suffer a pulled groin and be out a week, losing Butland for much longer would truly be a cruel joke on PSV.

PSV would also enjoy success in the World Club Championship, beating Tigres de la UANL 3-0 and Shanghai SIPG 3-1 in Melbourne for their first World Club Championship title. Their status would also be boosted by the completion of two important facility upgrades. Toon Gerbrands would cut the ribbon on an upgraded youth facility, now state of the art along with their training and data facilities, and a full capacity Philips Stadion. PSV can now host 55,000 fans in the largest stadium in the Eredivisie.

The last game of 2020 would be a microcosm of the season so far, even van Bommel has admitted he never expected things to turn out like this. He was barely piecing together rosters over the past few weeks, the biggest problem being the single decent CAM left for him to pick from (Guilherme Miguel) should really be at Jong PSV. Despite all of the injuries, PSV went right through Sparta like they were playing with (9) men.

Ryan Gravenberch would score first and by the time the halftime whistle blew Antonio Marin would have a hat trick. It didn’t help that Sparta didn’t manage a single shot on goal, Butland could have fallen asleep and it wouldn’t have hurt them. It also didn’t help that Sparta decided to slow down the PSV attack by fouling regularly on their way to (21) fouls in the game. Maximiliano Romero made it 5-0 late in the game before Marin grabbed a 4th before going off to applause for Falko Landman.

Marin would have quite the day with a 9.9 rating. He would even log (1) chance created and (3) key passes to go with his (4) goals, his legend continues to grow and draw more interest from bigger teams. Marin would now sit second in the league for goals (10) and first in PoM awards (4), PSV would also be (6) points in first with a stunning +59 goal differential. Despite the injuries and the player purge the team seems to be significantly better than last year, the Champions League will be the real test but the league seems to have been left behind by van Bommel.


PSV takes on the Eredivisie.

You have been very unfortunate with injuries and to see de Boom ruled out for the season, effectively, is a huge disappointment. However, you are still managing to pull some very impressive results and work off the pitch is moving along steadily too. Congratulations on capturing the World Club Championship too!

JANUARY : TRANSFER WINDOW HELL

It’s unclear if Mark van Bommel thought things were going to be any different than previous seasons, but the transfer window and midseason break quickly turned into more of a headache than a rest period. Unlike previous seasons an upheaval in the scouting hierarchy became one of the biggest stories to start the month.

Tensions had been building between management and scouting director John de Jong after he invested scouting resources into players PSV had no chance in signing. Inside sources indicate the trouble started before the purge, which injected enormous amounts of cash in PSV’s transfer budget, when de Jong scouted and suggested they purchase Dayot Upamecano for roughly 70M. PSV did not have this kind of money to spend on a single player, so questions started to come up about the effectiveness of his judgement. Things apparently reached a breaking point when back-to-back monthly scouting reports suggested Ousmane Dembélé, Naby Keïta, and Joshua Kimmich which all have £100M+ price tags and £10M+/year salaries.


Not a viable transfer target.

De Jong was fired during the break and Gerbrands went after former Borussia Dortmund Director of Football and Scouting as his contract at Arsenal wound down, but instead he opted to remain at Arsenal with a new contract. The next move was for RB Leipzig’s Paul Mitchell who agreed to step in, his work at RB Leipzig has been impressive and PSV offered him quite a raise to make the move. The hope is he’ll be able to understand the constraints PSV are working under unlike de Jong.


Mitchell has been impressive at RB Leipzig.

The staff shake up alone would have been enough stress, but the giants of Europe came waving cash for PSV’s precious assets. The Marin Saga began anew with AS Monaco and Borussia Dortmund lodging £29M bids only to be outdone by equally bizarre offers from Milan and Inter who wanted Marin on loan. PSG became a living Anchorman meme with a £19M bid for Boudewijn Dembélé that became £41M and £58M rather quickly. Barcelona and Bayern Munich came calling for César Montes at £23M, and Real Madrid were laughed at over a £23M bid for Ryan Gravenberch. The real stress landed with Barcelona, after having their Montes bid rejected, just went down the depth chart and put in four bids for Bruno Viana starting at £12.5M and getting all the way up to £25M. Their persistence was due to Bruno Viana getting upset that the first bid was rejected, a move to Barcelona would be his chance to win silverware… after winning the Champions League. None of it made sense, but Gerbrands flat our rejected every attempt to pry players away.

TRANSFER WINDOW

Osmar Silva (CD, 1 de Marzo - Paraguay) £10K
Alon Shachar (CM, Maccabi Tel-Aviv - Isreal) £1.5M
Aleksandar Kolarov (CM, Red Star Belgrade - Serbia) £1M
Afshin Mansouri (LB, Saipa - Iran) £250K
James Sullivan (CAM, Melbourne City - Australia) Free

Senior Squad
Stanislav Shopov (CAM Haiduk - Bulgaria) £2.9M

Gerbrands and van Bommel went right to bargain signings yet again, this time it was a necessity with so many injuries. The central midfield has been devastated by injuries, so PSV has spent quite a bit of energy scouting for players to fit the CAM and both deep lying midfielder roles. PSV went back to Dinamo Zagreb and agreed to purchase CAM Lovro Majer for £3.5M but contract talks fell through when he demanded an enormous salary. Second choice was Stanislav Shopov who is only 18 and looks to be a decent fill in. While he is technically a youth player and will likely stay at Jong PSV Aleksandar Kolarov is an option to fill in.

KNVB Cup (H) : PSV 4 - Feyenoord 1


After a few friendlies to stay sharp, which included a 3-0 win over Olympique Marseille, PSV got right back to blanking the league. A 2-0 win over Feyenoord was followed by a 4-0 beating of 10-man FC Den Bosch to continue their unbeaten run in the league, the win over Feyenoord was particularly satisfying since they would be facing each other in the KNVB Cup Quarter Final. Unfortunately for Feyenoord, they gave up even more goals but at least they scored.

The game also marked an incredible milestone for Antonio Marin as he scored his 20th and 21st goal of the season with no end in sight, he seems to be on his way to logging one of the best seasons in PSV history. The bizarre goal scoring also returned after a bit of a drought as Maximiliano Romero scored an easy goal on a terrible back pass that Luis Sinisterra would love to take back. From the end line, just after taking possession from PSV, Sinisterra calmly passed it sideways to former PSV player Lars Unnerstall who barely noticed the pass was coming before Romero easily intercepted and tapped it in.

In the other Quarter Final game of the day PSV fans were able to take even more pleasure in the elimination of Ajax. NAC Breda would hold Ajax to 0-0 and force a penalty shoot out which they managed to win. Their reward would be ADO den Haag as PSV drew AZ Alkmaar for their Semi-Final.

Eredivisie (A) : SBV Excelsior 0 - PSV 5


While the last game of January would hardly draw anyone’s attention based on the opponent, it marked a number of interesting achievements that are starting to create some serious buzz around Eindhoven. Tonny Vilhena returned to training this week as well, a very welcome sign even though it may be some time before anyone sees him in a game. With Ajax next and the Champions League looming, there isn’t a great time to bring him back into the first team just yet.

This game really represented a window into the future of PSV, not by choice, and the future starts on display put some of the senior squad on notice. The first statement of the game came at 21’ when Henny ten Bos, still just 17, scored a Marlon Frey special from above the arc that might have gone in if he’d taken the shot from his own goal. A floated cross into the goal area by Ivanildo Wennemars was headed clear, but not clear enough, and ten Bos took a one-timer out of the air and hammered the ball in. Sonny Stevens saw it coming and even dove in the right direction but just couldn’t stop it from going it.

Already up 1-0 Johan Bastyanus, Antonio Marin’s understudy at RW, poured it on and put up a hat trick in essentially half a game. The most surprising thing about this wasn’t that he’d scored a hat trick, it was that he now had (17) on the season with (13) in the Eredivisie to make him the league’s leading scorer. This was news to many people as Bastyanus flew under the radar, or more likely in Marin’s shadow. There must be something going on at the RW position this year as Marin (21) and Bastyanus (17) account for (38) goals between them. The two also became tied for 2nd most Player of the Match awards with (4). It seems like van Bommel is fighting with one hand tied behind his back with all the injuries, but at this rate it might not matter.
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2 weeksEdited

FEBRUARY : REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED WITH A SHUTOUT

Eredivisie (A) : Ajax 0 - PSV 3


The month of February opened with the final De Topper Derby of the league and Ajax desperately needed to win this one to have any hope of taking the league. PSV is already well ahead of Feyenoord and would need to lose even more players to choke the title away to a challenger. With the way both teams have been playing it might have been a victory if Ajax was just able to score.

Vincenzo Montella managed 27’ minutes of hope and Ajax played well enough to hold PSV from scoring, but it was starting to be clear that PSV was going to roll right over them. Moussa Sissoko would trip up Bruno Henrique in the box and send Antonio Marin to the penalty spot for a 1-0 lead, with Ajax failing to register a single shot up to that point it looked like that might just do it.

Ajax held their own after the penalty but still hadn’t taken a shot by halftime. Their formation and PSV’s attacking style would give them an opportunity to counter, but that started to fade away when César Montes scored on a corner just after the half. Down 2-0, Ajax completely collapsed and basically set themselves to keep the score respectable in front of their fans. The massive grin on van Bommel’s face would be wiped out around 69’ when Antônio Carlos would pull up limping and need to be taken off, all PSV needs is more injured players.

The stress of Antônio Carlos’ exit would be wiped out about ten minutes later when Marin would score again on an incredible goal that would impress even the home crowd, at least the fans that decided to stay until the bitter end. A corner would pass through Ajax’s box and Orbelín Pineda would collect the ball on the far side, when two PSV players descended on him he panicked and aimlessly booted the ball clear. The clearance found Bruno Viana just inside the half and he headed it forward to Marin to was quickly met by Nicolás Tagliafico, Daley Sinkgraven, and Pedro Chirivella to halt his run and stand him up. To their surprise Marin took a shot with his left foot from well beyond the arc and found a seam around the three Ajax players in his face and between Bruno Martins Indi and Rick van Drongelen in the box toward the right goal post. The ball bounced once, more like it skidded, and Erik de Wit was already diving down when the ball skipped up over his extended right hand and ended up in the net.


Antonio Marin, the Salt Bae of Ajax's nightmares.

PSV fans left the Johan Cruyff ArenA singing loudly, mostly songs about Marin, and enjoying their substantial lead in the Eredivisie. The 3-0 win would put them (17) points above Feyenoord and give Jack Butland his 18th shutout, just one short of the Eredivisie record. They would even get some good news about Antônio Carlos who would only be out for a few days with a pulled groin.

Champions League (A) : Porto 0(0) - PSV 2(2)


PSV would follow their big De Topper win with an even bigger 5-0 win at FC Groningen to get them ready for a trip to Porto that would be key to their Champions League defense. The fans and media needed very little motivation to make this game about more than the Champions League as two now hated former PSV players would be suiting up for Porto. Jorrit Hendrix, the man who couldn’t wait to leave town, would be in the starting lineup with Erick Gutiérrez waiting on the bench.

“I’m focused on the players that want to be here.” snapped van Bommel when asked about Hendrix and Gutiérrez, that was all he would say on the subject.

Porto started out well enough, but they slipped up early on and had to adjust for the rest of the game. Rinus Bakayoko, playing for the injured Maximiliano Romero, showed his incredible pace on the opening goal of the game. A quick PSV counter attack would see Philippe Wiltord take the ball and send it forward to Bakayoko quickly, he would blow by the Porto back line and loop around the left to shoot point blank after looking like he would have to take a shot from an impossible angle. Bakayoko would haunt Porto’s back line all game and they would need to focus on shutting down channels for through balls and sit back a little deeper to compress the space between them and the goal. At 35’ PSV found a way to hit back at their anti-Bakayoko tactics and Antonio Marin cut inside to take advantage of the space in front of the back line and score. The 2-0 score at the half put PSV is a very strong position.

Despite the arrival Gutiérrez, to a shower of whistles from the visitors end, all Porto could do was keep PSV from scoring even more. PSV also upped the shower of fouls in the second half to slow down Porto, it worked well and they only managed (2) bookings. A dull second half full of grumpy Porto fans would see PSV take a 2-0 lead into the home leg.

KNVB Cup (A) : AZ Alkmaar 0 - PSV 4


The KNVB Cup Semi-Final could not have come at a better time for PSV and a worse time for AZ Alkmaar. The only thing in AZ’s favor was a Champions League game in a few days forcing van Bommel to field his second squad. If AZ’s fans thought that the second squad would provide an opening for them they probably should have checked with N.E.C. Nijmegen and FC Eindhoven’s fans. PSV demolished N.E.C. in a 10-0 beating at the Philips Stadion and as if trying to swap places with the first team squad the Lichtstad Derby against FC Eindhoven got even worse with an 11-0 blowout on the road. Johan Bastyanus and Erwin de Winter would both log hat tricks in the 11-0 win and be key to the (21) goals scored in two games. Jack Butland would also set a new shutout record with his 20th of the season, but it wasn’t all sunshine and goals. Jaap Danso would be out for (2) weeks with a pulled abdominal muscle after the N.E.C. game and Stanislav Shopov would be injured before the Lichtstad Derby and be ruled out for (2) weeks with a pulled hamstring.

Fans and the media made numerous jokes about the first squad winning 12-0 in their next game against Heracles Almelo, and with the hosts firing manager Frank Wormuth the day before the game it looked like it could happen. They would have to settle for a 3-0 victory, with Antonio Marin scoring his 26th and 27th goals of the season, and mostly smooth sailing into the KNVB Cup.

With all of the injuries and Porto coming to visit van Bommel barely managed to piece a squad together. Tonny Vilhena would get the start to regain some match fitness and stop the central midfield bleeding, all jokes aside van Bommel might have had to play himself if anyone else was injured. Things were so bad that Zico, the recently signed Brazilian midfielder, had to be pressed into service even though he was resting after a long run in the South American U20 Championship. Ibrahim Diomandé, the twin brother of Prince Diomandé, was called up from Jong PSV to play alongside his brother in the CAM role and might be van Bommel’s very last serviceable CAM.

“It’s a struggle” admitted van Bommel when asked about the flood of injuries “but I have confidence in my squad. They know this, they are ready to win.”

Luckily for van Bommel the game turned into a football version of “Anything You Can Do” as the Diomandé boys took over the game. Prince would score at 15’ and then Ibrahim would score at 18’ and the rout was on. AZ could barely hold the ball and faced constant pressure from PSV’s attack all game. Prince Diomandé would score in stoppage time of the first half and the media was already talking about the ADO den Haag / NAC Breda game later in the day to see who would be a better matchup in the final. A penalty late in the game would give Prince his hat trick and secure bragging rights over his brother for a while longer.


Diomandé twins take over the game.

ADO den Haag would end up winning their game 3-2 in extra time, PSV will likely be heavy favorites once again. Not 12-0 favorites, but we’ve seen they have the ability to get close.

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