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de Rood-Witten

A PSV Eindhoven Story
Started on 19 February 2019 by OohAhCantona
Latest Reply on 9 July 2019 by ScottT


Eredivise (H) : PSV 6 - sc Heerenveen 1

This had all the makings of a trap game, or at least an opening for PSV to fall apart. At least sc Heerenveen came into this game 3rd in the Eredivisie, they weren’t quite the massive underdogs FC Groningen were and this time it was a home game. With a massive road game against Celtic in just a few days van Bommel decided to field his second team and give his first team the rest they needed coming off the international break. Dirk Abels, a Jong PSV player, was drafted to start at RB and a number of his regular teammates filled the bench. The potential for things to go south really quickly was high, apparently PSV did not get the memo.

Abels, almost to his disbelief, scored his first senior goal just 2’ into the game. Four minutes later Marlon Frey made it 2-0 with an absolutely stunning goal from 40 yards out that might have gone in from the halfway line. Warner Hahn may have been better off not getting in the way of that one, perhaps that’s what helped PSV do it four more times. It was 3-0 before sc Heerenveen’s Arber Zeneli broke PSV’s shutout streak, a fact that was quickly forgotten as the score rose to 6-1.

The big win was great for morale, they would need everything they could get for their midweek game in Glasgow. A win would put them in 1st in the group and guaranteed qualification, anything else would leave the Roma game to decide their fate.

Champions League (A) : Celtic 2 - PSV 0

If you had told PSV fans they had a chance to win their Champions League group by beating Celtic, they would have been more than excited about their chances. Unfortunately for Mark van Bommel, it took quite a bit more than that and he got a good picture of where his team stands in the continental pecking order. Unfortunately for PSV fans, their place in that order is behind Celtic and they are going to need to work harder to change that fact.

For the most part both teams were fairly equal, and statistically it was hard to draw much of a conclusion other than PSV enjoyed a big edge in possession and failed to do anything with it. Brendan Rodgers’ approach for this one was fairly simple, and he was willing to let PSV fall on its own sword by being too aggressive in an attempt to take the group lead. Celtic weathered an attack after attack, one sequence deflecting four straight attempts to break them down while sending the ball back across the half way line. When it looked like PSV had the momentum they finally made a critical mistake courtesy of Erick Gutiérrez. A quick pass out to an overlapping Denzel Dumfries near the top of the box was picked off by an advancing Kieran Tierney who knocked it forward to Olivier Ntcham, he would take it two-thirds of the field by himself without a whiff of resistance before sending a low cross through the box to an unmarked Moussa Sissoko to make it 1-0 after 20’. Jorrit Hendrix, Daniel Schwaab, and Pablo Roasio were left standing around looking at eachother like they had no idea how this could happen, a more than familiar scene as of late.

Celtic had managed the perfect counter attack, and perhaps it was just the score but they seemed to tighten up and sit back even more. With PSV needing a win, they had no reason to open up sitting on 13 points in the standings with no way for PSV to pass them now. The only change of play was an injury to Ezequiel Schelotto in the 66’, he was carried off with a groin injury while PSV looked impatient to start playing. Van Bommel paced the technical area, clearly frustrated with their failure to break down Celtic’s defense. The clocked ticked down, and if to pour salt on the wound Celtic would score again in stoppage time to make it 2-0. Sissoko sent a long cross into the box to a clearly offsides James Forrest who hammered the ball in not long before the whistle blew, and van Bommel came rushing out to the referee to angrily discuss the second goal and was only met with a wave of the hand to suggest he leave the field.

PSV had no answer for Sissoko.

“We will be discussing this with UEFA, that is all we can do” said a dejected van Bommel after the game.

Despite the general balance of stats, PSV were little threat to Celtic during this game. They only managed (3) key passes as a team where Celtic produced (8) and Sissoko ate them alive. Things got worse as Roma won against Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0 setting up a win-or-go-home game to close out the group.


Toon Gerbrands and Mark van Bommel definitely had their work cut out for them, even if they fail to advance from their Champions League Group they figure to have some lineup issues. The injury to Nicolas Isimat-Mirin is probably the biggest problem facing the team, central defense wasn’t particularly deep on talent and now van Bommel is already being forced to dip into the Jong PSV roster. Less pressing, but still needed, is some additional depth at the deep lying central midfield positions. Van Bommel has found a number of players able to handle the deep lying playmaker role, but the lengthy injury to Pablo Rosario has left him with a handful of poor options for the box to box midfielder. Isimat-Mirin’s injury means Jorrit Hendrix has to stay in central defense, so adding a solid CM/DM of Rosario’s caliber would go a long way toward shielding PSV’s weakened back line.

Things didn't start well for Gerbrands as budget constraints hit PSV hard. With only a little over £4M to spend on transfers, and youth signings to take into account, contract negotiations rapidly turned into disasters. A £1.1M offer for RB Salzburg’s DM Reinhold Yabo was accepted, way too much to be spending on one player, but reports are that Yabo’s agent was insisting on a salary in excess of £800,000 a year which instantly killed the deal. Gerbrands was likely sitting on roughly £400,000 for wages, and needed to sign two players, so Yabo’s contract would have put PSV firmly in the red. Even the free transfer route produced a dead end when CAM Samir Nasri, soon to come off a ban and a substantial upgrade over Mauro Júnior, came in to meet with Gerbands and van Bommel. While Nasri was interested in joining he was also interested in being paid £480,000 a year on a (3) year deal, and at 31 it represented the kind of deal PSV could not be locked in to. Eventually PSV turned to a familiar talent pool; Brazil. The blend of available talent, reasonable transfer fees, reasonable wages, and Champions League registration rules led Gerbrands to fill PSV’s roster needs with two players from Série A.

Willian Arão (DM, Flamengo) £700,000
Robert Arboleda (CB, São Paulo) £750,000

Both players are fairly young with Arão (26) and Arboleda (27) likely heading into their peak years, both represent upgrades over current roster members and will be able to play in the Champions League after spending the first half of the season in Brazil’s Série A. It’s also a minor bonus to have Mauro Júnior on the roster to help the new additions acclimate, van Bommel cannot wait for the transfer window to open so the new recruits can get started.

Arboleda should help shore up the middle.


Eredivisie (A) : Feyenoord 0 - PSV 5

It’s unclear what Feyenoord, or Giovanni van Bronckhorst, did to piss off Luuk de Jong but he definitely took something out on the hosts. A road game against a good team sitting 4th in the league would look like trouble on paper, but as the season rolls on it’s becoming clear that PSV and Ajax are in a class of their own as they slowly pull away from the pack. Feyenoord have a number of very good players that PSV would love to have, mainly Tonny Vilhena, but they managed to just melt away and leave the home crowd disgruntled.

After a tight game from both teams broke after 27’ minutes on a Hirving Lozano goal, a corner where the ball pinged around the box before finding Lozano on the left side just waiting to deflect it in, things just seemed to come apart. Feyenoord did manage to keep PSV to a terrible 20:9 shots to shots on target ratio, but today was one of those days where five of those shots found the back of the net. De Jong scored his first at 34’ on a great through ball, and just kept scoring in some kind of football equivalent to hitting for the cycle in baseball. He would go on to head the ball in on a cross, kick the ball in from the far post on a corner, and score from outside the box on a long shot that caught Feyenoord’s Kenneth Vermeer taking a step in the opposite direction.

De Jong was simply unstoppable.

Despite all of the goals, this wasn’t a solo effort from PSV. Three players rated over 9.0 and four over 8.0 while Feyenoord had a day to forget on the advanced metrics front. The win not only boosted morale, it helped PSV pull farther ahead of Ajax in a league race that might come down to goal differential.

Eredivisie (H) : PSV 3 - SV Excelsior 0

With the Roma in just three days Mark van Bommel would send out his second team, a move everyone has become familiar with. Since the disaster at FC Groningen the second squad has done quite well, even with the less-than-ideal central defense pairing of Trent Sainsbury and Daniel Schwaab things have gone well. Even using a Jong PSV player, Dirk Abels, hasn’t been as risky as previous weeks.

Ryan Thomas would open the scoring just 5’ in on a goal Excelsior’s Sonny Stevens would love another crack at. After fending off a corner PSV worked the ball around the perimeter before Marlon Frey found Thomas moving toward the top of the arc, laying the ball across his path for a one-timer that somehow threaded its way through a forest of legs and found the lower right corner of the goal beyond a diving Stevens. It was obvious, especially upon replay, that everyone in the box hid the ball from Stevens and he couldn’t see a shot was on its way until it was too late. At the 28’ mark Stevens suffered a painful spell of déjà vu as Thomas made it 2-0 on a nearly identical goal, this time served up by Schwaab.

Excelsior folded after that, spending the rest of the game just trying to keep it from getting worse. Perhaps it wasn’t so bad because they were already losing, but it did get worse. Angeliño rushed up the left and send a low cross into the box, a crowd of defenders around Maximiliano Romero made this cross looked doomed. Romero headed it towards goal and found the back of Lorenzo Burnet’s head before deflecting past Stevens as he moved in the opposite direction. It was somehow an appropriate sequence of events based on the day Excelsior was having, and they looked like they couldn’t get off the pitch fast enough when the final whistle blew.

“That was unfortunate” admitted Romero after the game “these things happen, I hope Lorenzo can put it behind him.”

Focus quickly moved to the Roma game, PSV and a few media outlets have been deliberate in trying not to look past minor games ever since FC Groningen. The sports cliché of taking it one game at a time has become something van Bommel has been eager to stress, things are going to be tight with Ajax and dropping points like that will be fatal. Roma are already just fighting to qualify for the Champions League in Serie A, so they will likely be exceedingly focused on beating PSV.
Two fantastic results, with clean-sheets in addition to eight goals. You can't complain about that!
That 5-0 thumping of Feyenoord is an incredible result!


Champions League (H) : PSV 3 - Roma 1

PSV easily dispatched Excelsior with their second team with an eye on this game, a win or draw against Roma would send them through to the next round and as a little bonus they would send Roma out of the tournament. After the nasty altercation incited by Roma over Jorrit Hendrix it would be almost ironic to have Hendrix sitting in the stands after being suspended on a yellow card limit. The possible irony of eliminating the team he wanted to join so badly because PSV wasn’t as likely to go far in the Champions League wasn’t lost on Hendrix, and it certainly wasn’t lost on the media.

“No comment” snapped Hendrix when reporters questioned him on his transfer request. He quickly took his seat behind the bench and sunk down into his jacket with arms crossed, a position he didn’t move from for most of the game. The light rain only seemed to enhance his mood.

Hendrix has been quite open about his desire to move to Roma.

While van Bommel felt the pressure to win, especially against a team they fell apart against on the road, there was an enormous amount of financial pressure on management. A win here would present a financial windfall that would go a long way to paying for future improvements to the club.

There were some concerns as kickoff approached that the rain would hamper PSV’s passing game, and while it did have an effect it seemed to be an issue for both teams. Unfortunately for Roma this game turned into the Denzel Dumfries show, the RB had a field day exploiting the space between Diego Perotti and a visibly exhausted Aleksander Kolarov. After 35’ of torture Dumfries would sneak up close on the right, catching Kolarov following Antonio Marin inside, and hit a low cross almost across the face of goal to find Hirving Lozano just waiting to tap it in. Just two minutes later Roma would get sloppy in transition and Pablo Rosario would pick off a weak pass and start a counter attack that looked like an eight-on-one situation. Everyone would be crowded on the left, allowing Dumfries to fly in late on the right and take a wide open shot that would beat a diving Robin Olsen to make it 2-0.

PSV had been here before and the ghost of Celtic loomed large for van Bommel. There is no doubt he wasn’t shy about reminding everyone about their 2-0 lead against Celtic and what would happen if they didn’t follow through. Erick Gutiérrez was definitely listening and gave PSV a 3-0 lead at the 56’ mark that seemed to kill off Roma. Needing (4) goals in about half an hour wasn’t an easy task, even after Edin Dzeko made it 3-1 at 73’ (followed by a raucous drawn out ‘DZEKO!’ from the visiting fans) it seemed impossible. Roma just couldn’t get off their back foot with PSV’s attack and defensive pressure turning possession into a constant struggle. Winning this one felt like a huge weight had been lifted, the financial boost felt more like a secondary concern.

Group C final standings.

Not that it helped PSV, but they would get the news after the game that Celtic had lost 2-1 to Lokomotiv Moscow. The game was a dead rubber, but it still caused a bit of “what if” among the fans. PSV was a single goal against Celtic away from winning the group.

Eredivise (A) : Heracles Almelo 1 - PSV 4

A relatively quiet game after the excitement of beating Roma, and ultimately more notable for a single goal and what happened elsewhere. The second team took the field for this one, featuring more Jong PSV players as second team regulars have been drafted into the first team due to injures, something that seems to bring out the best in Marlon Frey.

The visitors were shocked by a Heracles Almelo goal 11’ in, a goal that was arguably scored from an offsides position, but it put PSV fans into a panic. Mark van Bommel remained calm, but there was clearly a “not this again” feeling from the stands. PSV looked like it was going to happen again, struggling to get anything going, before Frey broke the game open with an incredible blast from well above the arc at 44’. Whatever Frey was feeling after putting that in must have been spread to the rest of the team at halftime because they next four minutes crushed Heracles. Maximiliano Romero (47’) and Steven Bergwijn (49’) would score to quiet the home crowd with a 3-1 scoreline.

Heracles barely put up a fight after that and seemed to go through the motions until the game ended. They got to stoppage time, but Frey wasn’t done. He would manage his second obscenely long range goal of the game, again from beyond the arc, leaving Janis Blaswich yelling at his back line to close him down.

“That was, truly special” admitted van Bommel after the game “he’s been incredible when we needed him to be.”

Things kept getting better for PSV as Ajax would draw 0-0 with de Grafshaap to give PSV a (2) point lead in 1st place. The two favorites are starting to pull away from the league, the team in third is (6) back of Ajax and hasn’t looked like they will make it close.


PSV fans were still celebrating the win over Roma when they found out who they would be playing in the first knockout round, and losing a 2-0 lead against Celtic would add some regret to the draw. Celtic would land Young Boys, a team most PSV fans feel they could beat. They were one late game collapse away from a solid shot at the second round, but instead they ended up with Atlético Madrid and a very slim chance of advancing.
Great job getting through!
Incredible that you're into the knockout rounds, congrats man!
Fantastic to see you've managed to progress. Shocked that it isn't Roma who are joining you and instead Celtic will be. They've definitely been handed the more favourable draw, but over two legs who knows what could happen. It would be a huge scalp indeed, if you were to beat Atletico.
I've noticed across three saves that big teams sometimes play very poorly, and it doesn't seem to matter who they have on the roster. In my Dortmund save Bayern Munich went down the toilet after two seasons, they kept spending insane sums of money on players yet couldn't get anywhere in the league. They also burned through a who's-who of managers (Kovac, Zidane, Ancelotti) and just kept getting worse. Roma seemed to be going through this, based on their roster I had no business beating them.
Just got through reading all of this. I prefer Ajax, but you're doing very well, especially in the Champions League.
2019-03-18 19:48#255478 SonOfAnarchy : Just got through reading all of this. I prefer Ajax, but you're doing very well, especially in the Champions League.


KNVB Cup (A) : ADO den Haag 0 - PSV 5

The hosts were lucky to get away from this without a bigger blowout. This was about as one sided as you can get as ADO den Haag had a terrible game. PSV finished the game with five players rating 9.0 or higher and only a single player (Jeroen Zoet in goal) that didn’t rate at 8.0 or higher, and to be fair to Zoet he barely saw enough of the ball to be rated.

Luuk de Jong continued playing like a man on fire, netting yet another hat trick and putting himself back on pace to finish the season with 20+ goals. Due to some rescheduling PSV would already know they were facing Heracles Almelo in the Quarter Final, something Heracles Almelo would be frustrated to hear after their 4-1 beating a few days earlier. Marlon Frey is probably the last person on earth they want to see right now.

After the game it was announced that van Bommel was dispatching another problem just as quickly with the sale of Eloy Room. LA Galaxy had made an offer for him earlier in the year that was rejected, something that Room was quite upset about, but this time around PSV were more than happy to accept. Toon Gerbrands and van Bommel likely saw this coming as they managed to weaken a league opponent by recalling Lars Unnerstall from VVV-Venlo to take Room’s place on the roster. Getting £450,00 for Room, eliminating a disgruntled player, and bringing back a better and younger player all seemed like a big win for PSV. Bringing Unnerstall back also provides a solid option if Zoet gets injured, after starting at VVV-Venlo van Bommel has much more confidence in his ability to step in.

Eredivise (H) : PSV 2 - AZ Alkmaar 0

The fall from grace of Nicolas Isimat-Mirin has been rapid and disturbing, and the events of this game caused it to spread from the field to include fans and teammates. Already up 2-0 with stoppage time about to to end the first half, a long pass to Fred Friday on a counter attack would end with the AZ midfielder laying on the ground covering his face. With the ball in the air and his back to Isimat-Mirin, he would turn to get in position for a header but find an elbow instead. The proximity of the ref and the ball hitting the pitch completely untouched would make this easy, Isimit-Mirin never even tried for the ball and the ref gave him a straight red.

Jurgen Dirkx could be seen giving Isimat-Mirin and earful on his way down the tunnel, being down a man half way through a game they needed to win was not what anyone wanted. Luuk de Jong was taken off for Trent Sainsbury to start the second half, van Bommel would go to his trusty 4-2-3 and keep their defensive shape. Despite the win, it would highlight a growing personnel problem.

The foul, brutal and unnecessary, would land Isimat-Mirin in hot water after the game. As if being tossed wasn’t bad enough, a review by the league would result in a three-match ban and set off some internal drama. PSV would decline to fine Isimat-Mirin, most likely feeling like the ban was bad enough, and reports are the Jeroen Zoet took great offense at this. Sources inside the organization report that Zoet took the matter to van Bommel, upset that Isimat-Mirin was not fined and his actions were detrimental to the team. His lack of discipline was a concern to him and the rest of the team, it isn’t clear how this was resolved but it seems like Isimat-Mirin has damaged his standing in the team and PSV might look to work around him.
Two great results, once again. The decision to sell Room seems plausible, especially when you have a capable player in Unnerstall to call upon.


Willian Arão and Robert Arboleda arrived in Eindhoven just in time to watch their new team get torn at by wealthier teams, suddenly Toon Gerbrands and Mark van Bommel were shifting into crisis mode with an eye on retaining the Eredivisie title. After trying to avoid the stress of the window by buying early, PSV was treated to the full force of the transfer window. A season long malcontent, an expected target, and a surprise all made their contributions to some serious heartburn at the Philips Stadion.

The first player to cause a ruckus was Jorrit Hendrix. Not long after PSV advanced to the Champions League knockout stage, and Roma were eliminated, Hendrix made the unsurprising announcement that he was no longer interested in joining Roma and would be happy to stay at PSV. That sentiment lasted right up until Paris SG lodged a £5.5M offer for him with £2.5M in incentives, which was quickly rejected. Hendrix then made another announcement that surprised no one; he was upset that the bid was rejected. Inside sources indicate that PSV management was more than happy to rid themselves of Hendrix at this point, the additions of Arão and Arboleda could replace him in midfield and on defense, plus the organization was tired of his attitude. Luckily for both parties Paris SG came back with an improved offer that was negotiated to £10.25M and accepted.

The dust had barely settled on the Hendrix sale when the other shoe dropped and the Lozano Saga began in earnest. This time the big difference was the Hirving Lozano, who had remained silent during early season approaches, wanted to leave and became very vocal. Arsenal and Tottenham were the first to enter the fight for Lozano, launching £12M and 13.25M bids that were both rejected and broke Lozano’s silence. At first the disagreement was contained between Lozano and van Bommel, with the manager content to wait out the season and sell during the summer. Things escalated when Arsenal and Tottenham came back at £20M and brough Manchester United with them, these were also rejected and then it went public as Lozano filed a formal transfer request. Now the sharks really started to circle, Arsenal and Tottenham came back with offers of £24.5M (including incentives) and PSV reluctantly accepted.

Lozano made it clear he wasn't interested in finishing the season at PSV.

With Lozano all but gone van Bommel quickly shifted to finding a replacement on the LW. Things got more stressful when Real San Sebastián put in a £7.5M offer for Donyell Malen, which would essentially wipe out the LW and leave van Bommel little to work with at Jong PSV. Malen did not seem to concerned about having the offer rejected, which was a blessing, and Gerbrands soon landed on a suitable replacement for Lozano. The Hendrix sale provided the funds needed to make a relatively large bid on a good player, and much like Arão and Arboleda he would come from Brazil.

Bruno Henrique (LW, Flamengo) £6.5M

The 28-year old winger would join Arão, his former teammate, and quickly take away the sting of losing Lozano. Although, when looked at rationally the thing that really took away the sting of losing Lozano was Lozano himself. Statistically he put up a pretty poor season for a player rumored to be worth upwards of £40M before the season. In (13) games this year Lozano scored only (4) goals and provided a paltry (2) assists while sporting a decent 7.78 average rating. Ultimately, those numbers could be replaced and across the formation Antonio Marin was having an incredible season for a teenager.

Bruno Enrique is set to fill the Lozano shaped hole at LW.


PSV’s new lease on scouting and youth development continued during the transfer window, this time they may have landed a true superstar and raided some of the MLS academies. Perhaps it’s revenge for stealing Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Roberto Loor (RW, Barcelona S.C. - Equador) £600,000
Fabián Blanes (RW, Club Deportivo América - Uruguay) Free
Ekene Jibrin (CAM, Cedar Stars Academy - USA) Free
Matthew Cox (ST, Oakwood SC - USA) Free
Hiroki Katô (RB, San Diego Surf - USA) Free
Sasan Nouri (CB, SC United Battery - USA) Free
Tyler Pimintel (CB, Richmond Uniyed - USA) Free

The crown jewel in this crop jumps right out; Roberto Loor. An extremely gifted RW with great pace, PSV fell in love with him right away and broke out the checkbook to spend as much as they would to sign a member of the senior squad. Scouts raved about him, so the pressure is on Loor and PSV to achieve his potential. The signings from American academies are also interesting because a number of them are not US citizens. Katô (Japan), Nouri (Iran), and Cox (England) add a little more international flavor to the rapidly expanding PSV youth system.

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