Things have been toppsy turvy for PSV in recent weeks but after a new year tactical shape up things have gone from good to better. It was all on for PSV in February with no less than 7 games to play, including Ajax, Vitesse and FC Twente.
It would by no means be an easy month but with the newly added wingers to the starting XI we were bound to see more goals from Robben's boys. Gakpo and Madueke were in scintillating form and they'd need to be going head to head against the league leaders for the first time.
It ended all square after a very even game, in comparison to the last game against Ajax in the cup PSV would be very pleased. Doan scored the first goal of the game in the 74th minute. Ecstasy for Eindhoven fans all around, could they knock them for 6 in their own back yard? Plainly put, not this time. Klaas Jan Huntelaar. A player known to many cropped up once again as he has done so consistently for Ajax over the years. One goal a piece, and full time.
Robben was said to be delighted with the efforts of his players after the game we caught up with him and he had this to say.
Yeah I think we played really well. We're executing the type of football I want to play again after a tricky Christmas period. Hosting Ajax is never easy especially with the players they have at the moment but I think we put in a brilliant effort and I can't fault anyone. Doan was particularly good today.
All credit to Klaas for the equaliser though. I know exactly what he can do having played with him myself. It was a fantastic goal.
In order to get past the cup quarter finals PSV would have to beat Fortuna Sittard but that would prove to be a lot harder than expected. Eindhoven have been far from great in the cup this year and would only come this far in, losing 1-0 at home. Malen's late missed penalty summed up the day for Rood-Witten.
They managed to get their own back with Silva on fine form once again straight after playing them again at home. 3-1 would be the final verdict. At this point it was becoming clear that Arjen Robben's focus was solely on the league.
PSV would head into march on a high have beaten Sparta 3-1. This game saw Madueke score again for the club in only his 4th start. Noni was signed before Robben got to the club from Arsenal for a fee of 500K. He's burst onto the scene in fine fashion lately and Arsenal will surely be kicking themselves.
PSV have seriously needed a surge in form and it's looking like that's on it's way after the way they've been playing. A few more wins could really boost morale to an all new high and send them straight back into the top 2. Although it won't be easy.
Back. On. Top. Right where we want to be. Absolutely smashing it this month with 3 wins from 3 against some fairly tough teams. We already lost to Feyenoord 3-1 earlier on in the season so it was important to send out a message that we aren't to be trifled with.
The efforts from everyone at the club in the last few weeks have been brilliant. We had a rocky bit of form but due to a tactical change up we've been able to get back to where we should be. Our wingers have been particularly fantastic providing fresh input for the boys upfront.
I've been really impressed with Madueke's development. Antonisse and Gakpo have also been progressing well in training, we've a nice pool of wide men here in Eindhoven.
We're back to second in the league which is brilliant! We're only 2 points clear so it's important to press on and make it our spot, but with Ajax and AZ both being our next two games it will not be easy. We are yet to beat Ajax, and this may be the toughest game against them yet. They could even clinch the title against us.
On the other hand we're left in a position where if we beat them we'll be 5 points behind with 4 games to play. I'm going to take a stab and say pipping them to the league in this form will be near impossible but never say never. Stranger things have happened.
Looking at the rest of the table things seem pretty sorted in the top 4. It can be assumed Ajax, Feyenoord, AZ and ourselves will be the top four seeing as Feyenoord are 6 points clear at this stage.
Utrecht and Willem have also both been having a good season, while the bottom 3 remains to be confirmed with Emmen and Den Haag both able to drop back into the zone. It's very tight down there.
What a lucky escape! April begun so difficult, I thought at that point all hope was lost but we managed to pull through right at the very end unfortunately for us fans leaving it till the very last day in dramatic fashion. My heart could have dealt without that really.
It doesn't matter though, because in the end we've done it!!
Those pesky Champions though...Becoming so hard to beat it seems. No matter what Robben does he can't seem to get anything out of them. Although the last couple of games have been very tight, we nearly won the last two!
We were infront again 2-1 so late on and the b*stards managed to score 2 and win it. A result that would ultimately seal the title. Things could have looked so different had we beat them.
AZ Proved to be much more difficult than earlier's 4-0 romping. They're our rivals for Champions league this year and beating them would see us into 2nd but a draw was all we could muster. Thank the lord for Donyell Malen!
Donyell's been scoring so much this season but at the end of the season...What an effort. 2 hattricks in his last 3 games coming against Willem and Venlo. I have to say if it weren't for him I could really see us coming close to dropping out of the Europa league spots. Although Fabio Silva and Lammers have been fantastic goal scoring threats, they've been no where near Malen's level.
29 goals in total in the league this year which makes him the leagues golden boot winner by well over TEN goals. An unbelievably good effort. His performances have even earned him a call up to the Holland squad in the European Championships. Ihattaren will also be joining him.
We went into the game against Emmen 2nd in the league but being 1 point only ahead of AZ we needed a win and my word did we go for it. 4-0, a massively contrasting game from the 1-1 back in December. Some might say it was Emmen that knocked us off the rails during that period, but we get our vengeance here.
Back in the Champions League. We'll need a much better play off performance next year!!
Well, that was a great read. Having caught up I have very much enjoyed so far and it's great to see you back and enjoying both a save and writing!
Lammers seemed to be the star early on with his four goals in the Qarabag game, but Malen has been incredible all year. 29 league goals is a crazy amount and to be the top scorer by ten is ridiculous. It might be very tough to keep a hold of him in this upcoming summer window, but it will be vital that you do.
It's good to see the form has turned around in the latter stages of the season following the tactical switch, it shows that Robben isn't afraid to admit when something isn't working and has the know how of when and what to change. Early signs that he may be alright at this manager stuff
Looking ahead to next season, it is going to be an almighty challenge to cut that gap with Ajax, who are just so far ahead in terms of quality and finances compared to the rest of the country. A big summer however, and you may well be able to put a bit more pressure on them. Also we hopefully see a bit of a better European run next time around, especially with Robben's dismay about his last couple of seasons as a player in European competition.
Seb: All of our strikers have been nothing short of superb. Kutucu has had a slow season, but with Lammers, Silva and Malen scoring for fun it's hard for him to get any minutes on the pitch.
I think you'd be surprised to learn that the gap in finances isn't quite as large as you may believe. In fact, dare I say it I believe we as a club may have more money than Ajax in the bank currently. We'll see how that progress' after what will hopefully be a good summer.
It's been a season difficult to describe for Arjen Robben. Going out early in the Champions League play offs and falling short in the groups of the Europa league, things weren't looking good to begin with for the Dutchman but with good performances in the league he will be kept at the helm for next year and be given the chance to compete in the Champions League next year to write the wrongs of last summer.
There have been performances of the highest level from certain players. Most notably Donyell Malen and Fabio Silva. Being short at the back all season long PSV were sure to find reinforcements before the beginning of pre season so in this special edition transfer update, we at NL Times will be looking at who they've brought in and the most notable departures.
Denzel Dumfries has been one of the most present names in PSV's first team this year being deployed at right back ahead of back-up Jordan Teze. It looks like Jordan may be getting his opportunity to impress though as Denzel will be leaving the club for Valencia.
Dumfries was said to be angered when a bid of 18M Euros was rejected and upon confronting Arjen Robben with his dismay, his request to leave was granted. The full details of the deal include exactly a 20.5 Million Euro deal upfront in full.
On top of that, Boeren negotiated a whopping 50% next sale clause in the deal. Meaning they'll require to be paid half of whatever fee Valencia sell the Dutch right back for.
Next to leave was Erik Gutierrez. Not a player that was unhappy. More to do with a deal that was too good to turn down. When Manchester United came knocking with 17.5M on the table PSV strongly rebuffed the 20 time English Champions with a massive 32 Million deal upfront.
Ed Woodward obliged, accepted the deal and somehow allowed another 50% next sale clause in the deal. Certainly some incredible business for PSV in only the first 2 sales of the summer.
Romero is a player that none of you will be familiar with from last season. Maxi returns from Velez after a very successful loan spell scoring 20 in 10 for the Argentines. Robben was said to be impressed with him however after last seasons performances from Malen and Silva it was highly unlikely he'd be able to fit him in.
He'll be on his way to the big boys in South America - Boca Juniors for 8.5 Million.
Thomas featured very little for the Rood-Witten last year making only 7 apps in the league, 3 being from the bench. Clearly surplus to requirements the New Zealand international was allowed to leave the country for sunny Spain to negotiate a contract with Espanyol after a 5.25M deal was agreed with his club.
Lars Unnerstall was PSV's starting goalkeeper throughout the year and made some very important saves for the club. He was however suspect to a few blunders and a 5.5M deal was too good to pass up for a 30 year old goalkeeper, especially when he could be easily replaced by former regular Jeroen Zoet who was returning from Utrecht on loan to reclaim his captaincy.
Last but not least. Van De Looi. There's not much to say about this one. None of you will be aware of this boy. Coming through the ranks this year into the PSV u18s he quickly snapped up a youth contract with the club. Very suddenly though, PSG showed interest and Van De Looi refused any and all approaches from Arjen Robben.
A true showing of disloyalty, and as a result was told to leave by Robben. But not before the 900K in compensation was paid in full.
Clearly a player with potential to go all the way, lets see how many games he gets for the french Champions.
Having not played for Monago in a quite some time, Benoit Badiahshile was looking like a good option for PSV to add to the bench and for cheap money to. Only 3.1M was enough to prize him away from PSG's league rivals and he'd be looking to prove a lot of people wrong in Holland.
Augustin Gomez was brought into the club from River Plate. The 19 year old hadn't featured even once in Argentina and would be on his way to Europe to play second fiddle to captain Jeroen Zoet who also is seemingly looking to leave on a free at the end of this year.
A second defender! Looking absolutely brilliant from Benfica for as little as 5.5M. He made 24 apps for Benfica B putting in a brilliant showing all the way through the year.
A very commanding central defender who is sure to solidify PSV at the back line. It's something the club have been missing in recent months and I'm sure fans will be very glad to see him come in.
Another day another centre back. An Italian in the form of Andrea Papetti from Brescia. Certainly one for the future. Andrea was actually signed in March and Eindhoven have been waiting for quite some time to see their man come in and train with them, but on July 1st everything was confirmed - He put on his PSV shirt for the first time.
What a signing this is. Possibly considered the best bit of business all season in addition with the gutierrez sale. Proper comes in replacing Gutierrez for FREE.
This means the full fee paid by Man United has theoretically become free money injected into the club, plus any future fees to come in after his sale.
It's reported that Proper will fit right into the first team even at such a young age. Robben is clearly not afraid to play the youngsters and it's no shock really. PSV's group of young talent is nothing short of spectacular.
Denzel Dumfries' replacement here. All the way from Porto he joins up with former friends Fabio Silva and David Vinhas. Rodrigo has been tipped to be the next big thing in his position and it's clear to see why. At only 18 years it's clear to see why.
We've been told he's been showing out in training to be one of the top performers and after learning the language could become a first team regularly very very quickly. Some good competition for Jordan Teze.
Another Monaco player, Arthur Zagre comes in to fill out the left back position after Ricardo Rodriguez' loan comes to an end. Boscagli is without doubt one of the first names on the team sheet these days but just like Rodrigo he'll provide valuable cover and competition for a fee as small as 4.4M.
Lastly, yet another centre back. Strahinja Pavlovic AGAIN from Monaco has joined PSV for 9M Euros. It's likely that himself and Morato will feature as the main partnership although it will be tough for him as Luckassen is returning from his successful loan away this year.
Pavlovic is like all the others very young and it seems the club are heavily stacked in this position now.
That brings to and end all the ins and outs. There will be more on the way out on loan/free but will bring you more on their performances later in the season when we know a lot more about how they're performing.
Next we want to take a look at the whole first team in it's entirety. Here it is.
Some extremely interesting arrivals. No recognisable names as such, which comes as a surprise given European football awaits next season and Robben will be hungry to succeed after last season's early exit. I'll be following the next twelve months with great intrigue.
Reporter:So, Arjen. It's been exactly a year since you joined the club. You're here now with PSV TV to talk with us about the upcoming season but before we get into all that I have to ask. What's changed in between now and you're appointment?
Robben:Aside from all the upheaval, not a lot really. When I came in I inherited a talented, young squad with lots of hunger. I feel like if anythings changed we've only gotten hungrier for success which can only be considered a good thing.
Lots of faces in and out but we deal with that from day to day. Sometimes it's hard to lose friends that we have here, sometimes it's easier depending on the situation.
Reporter:Just touching on our new signing Dirk Proper. How important do you expect him to be?
Robben:I expect everyone to be important and put in a good shift but it's no surprise that Dirk's come in to replace Gutierrez so yes he'll be pretty important to the team. We know how good Dirk can be, we'd been looking at him for a while and when we got wind his contract was up we just had to act and I'm glad to say he came.
Reporter:Since there's been a lot of changes, do you expect the harmony of the squad to be disrupted?
Robben:No. I think it's always good to have a strong togetherness but when you all want something badly enough, when you're hungry for success you come together and pull in the same direction naturally. I don't see any problems with that.
Reporter:There's been a lot of questions asked about the obscurity of the transfers given you're going into the Champions League this year, can you be as competitive as you're expected to be?
Robben:Yes, more so I believe. I wouldn't have brought them in if I didn't believe in them. I remember when I was their age I wasn't very well known but I too came into a PSV and Chelsea team and did well for myself. I think all of these players can go very far.
I'm excited to see just how far.
Reporter:There's also been reports of the board agreeing to upgrade a lot of the facilities at the training grounds. Can you shed any light on that?
Robben:Yeah, we've had discussions. The training complex will be expanded, as will the academy. We've got other background improvements we're trying to make too. There's been a lot of staff incomings. We're not here to mess around.
Hopefully in a few years we'll be talking about stadium expansions and such.
Reporter:Great news, thank you for your time Robben.
Trabzonspor 0-6 PSV | UEFA Champions League 2nd Qualifying round | Silva x3, Teze, Proper, Boscagli PSV 0-1 Trabzonspor | UEFA Champions League 2nd Qualifying round | N/A PSV 2-1 Dynamo Kyiv | UEFA Champions League Best Placed Playoff | Ihattaren, Malen Dynamo Kyiv 1-1 PSV | UEFA Champions League Best Placed Playoff | Ihattaren
After last seasons disappointing exit from the Champions league, Robben and the boys would be taking absolutely nothing for granted this time round.
Starting in the 2nd qualifier due to the Netherlands rising in coefficients, they would have one less round to get through if they were to make the groups.
This side has experience against Turkish sides in the Champions League after their games against Istanbul last time round. Not one to take anything lightly, Robben put his strongest side possible out and absolutely battered them 6-0.
Fabio Silva finished the game with a perfect hattrick. Left foot, right foot, header. It was a vintage display from the Portuguese striker who in recent weeks has been earning recognition from the worlds most respected players. Steven Gerrard was seen from the stands. Looks like Watford manager will be keeping tabs this year.
The return leg wasn't much of an entertaining fixture with PSV going down 1-0 after playing most of the youngsters due to being so far ahead in the tie. The result was all but confirmed, and they were through to the play offs.
Dynamo Kyiv provided a much larger threat. Winning 2-1 in the first leg despite being pegged back 1-0, the team put in a fantastic effort to claw back the result and win the game. They sent the fans off home from Ukraine happy, and only a few days later they'd meet again to decide the outcome.
When Kyiv arrived to the Phillip Stadion it was expected that goals would be seen due to the attacking nature of both sides but what we got was a 0-0 bore draw...All the way up to the 70th minute that is, when Kyiv broke the deadlock.
Going out of the competition again, PSV were in need of a goal. Despite dominating the game they were finding it hard to break through. However on the 85th minute when a cross was whipped in from Bosagli, Ihattaren latched onto it and won the tie for his club!
PSV were through the Champions League group stages again, and they would play...