The season has started in Holland. Belgium was even earlier and the qualification games for the European competitions is upon us too, while Spanish and English clubs still have weeks of prep ahead of them. Weird.
The issues have been widely discussed already. Ajax is playing their CL qualification game tomorrow, while David Neres only returned to the club some days ago. And with the transfer window still open, Ajax might well end up having to deal with the exit of players like Ziyech, Neres and Van de Beek while Lasse Schone already took the bus to Genoa earlier last week. Strange times.
In England they will close the transfer window in the coming week! Well done Poms. Why can’t we do this in Holland too? It’s frantic for the clubs and highly annoying for the supporters. And it’s competition fraude too, in a way!
It really annoys me, every year again.
And thus, Ajax and PSV dropped points already in their first match of the competition while PSV couldn’t get past Basel and will have to forget playing Champions League football this season.
In a way, I don’t think it should be considered to be too negative for PSV though. They do seem a tad light this season and might do much better in the Europa League.
After all the news from Amsterdam in the past months, it’s time to focus a bit on that other big club in Holland. Mark van Bommel’s PSV.
Guti is in charge
PSV over the past seasons (5 under Cocu) used different midfield players and different midfield systems to find the ideal structure. In Cocu’s title winning last season he used 7 players for the 3 spots: Siem de Jong, Pereiro, Van Ginkel, Hendrix, Ramselaar, Propper and Guardado.
Van Bommel directly went for a 4-2-3-1 system with two defensive / holding mids. Pablo Rosario and Jorrit Hendrix were Van Bommel’s go to guys, but they copped a lot of criticism for not offering up enough creativity. Rosario seems to be above criticism with the former Bayern midfielder as he is made one of the captains (with Afellay Van Bommel’s first choice, but the former Barca man is still not 100% fit). Hendrix might be on his way out (with Bologna from the Serie A close to a deal) and it seems Erick Gutierrez (Guti) will claim his spot, finally. The Mexican midfielder needed a full season in Holland to adapt to Van Bommel’s style of play but he’s with the pace now it seems and was one of the more positive players in the past weeks.
Gutierrez and Rosario have developed a good understanding while his passing capabilities work well with the dynamic trio / quartet up front. The question is: will his old friend Lozano be part of that? Luuk de Jong made a move to Spain and Lozano would love to follow him to either Spain or Italy. Rumours abound that the Mexican forward will move to Napoli soon.
Skipper Pablo Rosario against his old club
The PSV fans won’t be too disappointed as the Mexican winger has agitated most of them with his petty behaviour at times, his egotistical performances and his spoilt brat behaviour and ridiculous red cards.
And with Portuguese rocket Bruma in the team, Lozano might not be needed anymore. The left winger demonstrated his skills in the pre-season and does seem to be more lethal in front of goal than – for instance – Malen who does miss more chances than needed.
The analyses and passing maps show clearly that with Guti in midfield, PSV does get to play more football. The forward pass is coming quicker and more precise and with Malen on the #9 position, PSV aims to have 3 quick artists up front with Sam Lammers in the false striker role behind Malen, that used to be Luuk de Jong’s.
Lammers is sadly injured for a while (operated on his knee already) but Malen will stay in the 9 spot with Pereiro coming in as the #10 shadow striker.
Michal Sadilek normally is also a contender for a midfield spot. The young Czech international is seen as a carbon copy of Mark van Bommel and not coincidentally, Van Bommel is a fan of the terrier. With Angelino back to Man City and no real replacement for him at left back, Sadilek is currently a place holder on that position but probably not for long. Van Bommel will be making some tough decisions soon but it seems Guti / Rosario will form the engine room with young Ihattaren a potential dark horse even.
Michal Sadilek – Mark van Bommel Mark 2
Van Bommel will be headstrong in his vision. This much we know. “Football is a game of space. We need to have dominance in the key spaces. I don’t care who takes the space. As long as it’s one of my players.”
Van Bommel wants to see less predictability and he wants to see a mentality of unperturbedness (if that is English). He wants his team to stick to the fundaments and work from that perspective, while at the same time being able to add some variance to the team. “Gakpo can play left wing, but also #10. Bergwijn can play #10 and winger, but also out and out striker, like Malen.”
With the transfer market still open, Mark van Bommel will not sleep too well. The former AC Milan midfielder knows that scouts are still keen to check out Bergwijn and Dumfries, while Jeroen Zoet has announced he will be ready to leave PSV at some stage. The latter doesn’t seem to be in top form by the way, so an exit might not even be that bad (with Unerstahl now as second goalie).
PSV wanted to lure Steven Berghuis from Feyenoord to Eindhoven (as they did successfully in the past with Ruud Gullit and Gini Wijnaldum) but the Feyenoord star has signed a new deal in Rotterdam this weekend and was never seriously considering a move to Eindhoven.
Toni Lato is the new left back who will replace Sadilek at some stage, while Derrick Luckassen gets the chance to prove his worth as centre back. Obviously, Van Bommel does have a spot in mind for Ibi Afellay too, once he’s fit. We might see Guti move a spot up to the #10 role potentially, with Rosario and Afellay taking the engine room. Lots of options for PSV but they might still want to make a move or two on the transfer market. A central defender would not be an overly luxurious thought, while an extra striker is definitely needed, even if just as a pinch hitter.