PSV has a midlife crisis


After the dismissal of Mark van Bommel, PSV decided that the new trainer should bring a different kind of football. PSV has to play full throttle again under the German Roger Schmidt. Does PSV have gold in their hands or does Schmidt put too much risk in the game of the new PSV?

In recent years, PSV has been less and less able to counter to a national championship. After a number of successful seasons under Phillip Cocu, and a lesser phase with Mark van Bommel as head coach, the oil seems to be out of the engine of the Eindhoven team. The conservative game no longer worked for the Dutch top club.

The management therefore wanted to take a new path and have found a trainer in Roger Schmidt who is not in the least averse to full house attacks. He prefers to do that in a 1-4-4-2 line-up, but his past also proves that playing in a 1-4-2-3-1 system is not unknown to Schmidt.

PSV is going from diesel to a sports gear

PSV’s old style of play can be compared to a diesel car: it took a while to gain speed, but once at the right revs PSV could move forward quickly. That diesel car was therefore taken to scrap. The Eindhoven club is replacing it with a fast sports gear. Schmidt wants his team to go from 0 to 100 in no time. When the ball is lost, the people of Eindhoven no longer run backwards. No: then full pressure must be put to reclaim the ball as quickly as possible or to force the opponent into a long ball.

During the PSV training camp in Germany, the contours of PSV’s game slowly became visible. This was of course not quite top – it remains the preparation – but it gave a good picture of the advantages and disadvantages of the intended way of playing. After Luuk de Jong’s departure to Seville, PSV’s number nine could sometimes be compared to a man looking for a brand new car at an used car dealer. PSV was ‘lucky’ that it had Donyell Malen in the point. The attacker scored 11 goals in 14 league games. At the moment that the four-time international of the Netherlands got injured on his knee, PSV had major problems. Maxi Romero was already rented out to his old club Velez at that time. Interesting detail: in Argentina, the young attacker showed that he had not forgotten how to score (24% of his shots per game were goals).

More manpower in the 16

Malen often came into scoring position (20% of his shots per game were hit) because, in addition to a goal instinct, he also has a good action. Substitute Sam Lammers may have excellent technique and a nose for the goal (14% of his shots per game were hit), but he has significantly less speed than Malen and also lost the ball more often than his teammate. By playing with two strikers, you can more easily use the noses for the goal.

Because PSV still seems to be playing with a left leg on the right and a right leg on the left, there are two extra players in scoring position from an offensive point of view. The emerging backs will therefore have to provide the crosses, which is no change from the previous way of playing. However, there is one big difference: instead of a striker at the first post and the winger at the second post, PSV now has at least four (!) Players in and around the 16 who are in scoring position.

Space in the midfield

Because the backs of PSV still make it to the back line and the midfield generally has one man less – assuming that a premier division club plays with three midfielders – this way of playing can also have a different side. The moment the ball is lost on the opponent’s half, there is a lot of space in the central midfield and on the wings. Little use was made of this in PSV’s matches against the 3. Bundesliga clubs, but a premier division team will handle these opportunities better.

The margin of error of PSV players for this tactic is therefore very low. For example, when Mohammed Ihattaren loses the ball with a dribble action from central midfield, you end up in a 1-on-2 situation in the switch. Then the central defender will have to step in and there will be a hole in the defense where a (fast) striker can dive in to create an opportunity. If the central defender does not step in, but squeezes the back in, the opponent’s wing attacker is given all the space to reach the back line and look for a play option.

Devil’s dilemma

So it seems that PSV prefers sensation over the result this year. The intended playing style of the Eindhoven team can potentially yield many goals because more players get into scoring position, but the same can be said of the number of potential goals against. If you look at the number of points per game that Roger Schmidt achieved with his previous teams, then only his time at Red Bull Salzburg (2.24 points per game, 99 games) can match the possible numbers needed to win a national championship in the Netherlands. to celebrate.

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag (2.30 points per game, 116 games), AZ’er Arne Slot (2 points per game, 40 games) and Feyenoord coach Dick Advocaat (2.38 points per game, 21 games) seem formidable competitors for the German trainer. The coming (transfer) period will therefore be an interesting one for PSV. Not only will Schmidt have to mold the players for his system, he also indicated that there are still enough reinforcements to come to the Phillips Stadium. One thing is certain under the German head coach: counter football will mainly come from the opponents of PSV this season.

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