PSV INJURY BUG PLAGUES START TO SECOND HALF & LIFE WITHOUT LOZANO
The Football Gods be cruel, and there is only so much Eva Carneiro and the rest of the medical staff can do. Almost as soon as he arrived in Eindhoven Willian Arão came down with an injury during training, later announced as a pulled hamstring that would keep him out for two weeks. The very next day PSV would be without the services of Marlon Frey for two to five weeks after pulling a calf muscle in training. The extra depth that was added to the midfield suddenly evaporated, Mark van Bommel would need to dip into the Jong PSV squad yet again.
If the injuries weren’t bad enough, the Lozano transfer saga would sprout a branch of discord between van Bommel and President Toon Gerbrands. The accepted £24.5M offer for Lozano was leaked and the sharks continued to circle with Bayern Munich sweeping in late along with a surprise approach from Ajax. Van Bommel had no problem accepting the Bayern Munich bid as Lozano would express interest in joining them, but he was exceedingly opposed to sending him to Ajax. Gerbrands, feeling the bid was too good to pass up, would go over van Bommel and accept the offer. Inside sources report that van Bommel and Gerbrands had the first break in their relationship over this, van Bommel is well known for his feelings on Ajax so it was a shock to have Gerbrands go over him like that.
The conflict was short lived, and probably had more legs in the media than it did in the head office, apparently Lozano was headed for an agreement with Bayern Munich so van Bommel was able to move on. The two have had such a positive working relationship so far, it’s hard to see this one incident ruining everything.
Eredivisie (H) : PSV 4 - FC Groningen 0
PSV would open the second half with a big 5-0 on the road at FC Emmen before welcoming a team van Bommel had not forgotten about. Despite FC Groningen struggling to avoid relegation, this game would feel rather important for a number of reasons. The first reason was rather simple; revenge. After handing PSV their first league loss of the season it wouldn’t take much to motivate the team to win this one, and there would be a little pressure from the fans to win big. The second reason would be Hirving Lozano departing for Munich the day before the game after agreeing to a deal with Bayern Munich. With Lozano gone it would open up the LW for Bruno Henrique who would make his first start today, a bit of an easier fixture to step into the team.
The team that shocked PSV at home must have stayed back, and FC Groningen seemed to resort to fouls to slow down their hosts. It looked like it was working for most of the first half until it finally backfired 25’ minutes in. A rough challenge on Bruno Henrique as he made his way into the box put Antonio Marin on the penalty spot for a 1-0 lead. After 37’ it was a bit of shoving on a corner that put Marin back on the spot for a 2-0 lead, a score that was quickly looking to be insurmountable. Heading into the second half it was obvious FC Groningen were cutting their losses and trying to park the bus, they didn’t take a single shot the entire half. Pablo Rosario came alive in this environment, coming into the box late with the entire FC Groningen defense looking elsewhere. Rosario would score twice in this manner, barely facing a challenge on his shots, and finish the game with a 9.4 rating and the Player of the Match award.
While everyone could feel good about getting revenge, the mood quickly soured after the game. Marin, who left after 72’ with a light knock, would be diagnosed with a pulled knee ligament and would miss almost two weeks. There would be some time to get him back before the Atlético Madrid game, but any setback would leave them without one of their best players. Perhaps more concerning would be all of the games between now and then, losing Marin would mean that Jong PSV player Sékou Sidibé would move from emergency fill in to second team starter.