Van Nistelrooy’s PSV

PSV has been doing great business this summer. Roger Schmidt’s project wasn’t what was hoped for and as he’s turning heads in Portugal, club legend Ruud van Nistelrooy reluctantly took the reins and is making headlines with his TD John de Jong and new MD Marcel Brands.

Sangarue and Gakpo still wear the PSV colours, Luuk de Jong is back. Guus Til will bring depth and goals, while the goalie issues seems sorted now with Benitez between the sticks.

Conceding Less Goals

This was one of the missions for the summer. Joel Drommel, albeit talented, wasn’t the man for the job (yet). A tad nervous, uncertain and lacking courage with high balls. They found the ideal shot stopper in France. Argentine Walter Benitez was statistically the best goalie in France and his mission is to play CL football and get into the Argentina squad.

PSV has a list of players that left Holland at a young age, only to return to PSV to get games in their pocket and as a result an invite for Oranje. Ki-Jana Hoever wants to do what Donnyel Malen, Jeffrey Bruma and Karim Rekik did before him. The youngest ever Liverpool player in the FA Cup will focus on the right full back spot. The season’s preparation demonstrated his comfort on the ball and his smarts in the build up. His weaknesses? Typically, his defensive abilities, but Ruud van Nistelrooy was quite happy with how Hoever developed in this short time at PSV.

Youth Sensation

Xavi Simons is a brand and a youth sensation. With his blonde, curly hair he became an icon as a kid for Barca and he slowly moved to the big boys’ matches via Paris SG. He realised that he would have a hard time playing week in week out in Paris, so he decided on a loan spell to PSV. The talks between him and the club were such that he actually decided to leave PSG and sign with PSV all the way. Simons wants to get the same status in men’s football as he had in youth football. He’s got all the tricks and never loses sight of the space when in confined spaces. Xavi has superior technique and an eye for the through ball. The only question is: how well is he equipped physically, to play 90 minutes at high intensity, 2 matches per week?

Guaranteed goals

No other active Eredivisie player scored more goals in the Eredivisie than Luuk de Jong. 135 goals. And as they saw in Sevilla and Barcelona, Luuk will score when the service is right. The new PSV skipper also has a tremendous role model function in the squad as everyone who knows him praises him for his professional approach. Another guaranteed goal scorer is Feyenoord’s topscorer from last season, Guus Til. Feyenoord couldn’t make a move as they needed to sell players first. Til didn’t want to wait and signed for four years in Eindhoven, where he hopes to play CL football. The midfielder is not the gifted technician but due to his work rate, depth and tactical discipline, every coach in football loves working with him.

New names

With the signing of Jarrad Branthwaite, PSV has another defensive option. Due to injuries, Van the Man needed more and Marcel Brands lured this tall defender away from Everton, where he signed him previously. Savinho is a player the fans will enjoy more than the tall English centre back. The Brazilian super talent is part of the City Group and asked for a loan spell at PSV. The Eindhoven club still have magic in its name in Brazil, thanks to the stints of Romario, Ronaldo and Alex, among others at the club. Savinho is an Antony like left footed right winger, who will benefit from the long term ankle injury of Madueke.


Van Nistelrooy is no Schmidt. Where the German relied on compact organisations and turn-over moments, the former Man U striker is a believer of the Dutch School: possession, pass and move, forward press and attractive and attacking football. PSV will move closer to Ajax and Feyenoord in that way. Ruud used the 4-1-4-1 system a lot at Young PSV and seems to want to play like this with his current squad as well. With the extension of Gutierez, Sangare still on board, Joey Veerman, Guus Til and Xavi Simons, Van has quite some good midfield options to go to. In the pre-season, Van Nistelrooy used Sangare as lone defensive mid and has also played with Veerman next to Sangare and Til as shadow striker. “I like to be able to vary, to keep the opponent on their toes.” In Schmidt’s system, the team would overcrowd the ball and all players would move towards the ball, in order to take possession and quickly break out. In Van’s world, he will keep the players in position as much as possible. This will diminish the risk of not being able to win the ball and having opened up the pitch. Another benefit is, that it doesn’t require the intensity Schmidt demanded. In Schmidt’s system, the wingers played as midfielders and were coming into the space or squeezing inside. In Ruud’s system, the wingers are used as final station in the build up, before the killer pass arrives in the box.

Ruud wants to see one defender more than opposing attackers, at the back. This is usually the central defensive midfielder, as the full backs are needed higher to play triangles with the midfielders and the wingers. Luuk de Jong wants service from the wings and Gakpo and Savinho or Madueke are capable to take on opponents and bring the ball into the danger area.

This season will be really interesting, between PSV and Ajax. I can see Ajax focusing more and more on the CL win, while PSV just wants that title again!

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  1. I’d be very interested to see if Gakpo moves this window; as an Arsenal fan it would be great to have him as it’s been a while since there were any Dutch players for the gunners, but PSV have been doing well too, so perhaps one more season in the Netherlands is best.

    Also wanted to share this really good article about the upcoming Louis van Gaal film, worth reading:

  2. Welcome Gooner. I have said this before. This is not the window for Gakpo to move. We all saw what happened to Depay at Man United. I mean Cutting in from the left. Unfortunately in EPL this hardly works especially when that is your only trade mark. For left footed wingers on the right. Yes like Mahrez, sako, salah etc. I dont gakpo will survive in epl and realistically speaking Martenelli overally is better than him. ES Rowe is very underrated ad well but technically he has better package as well.

    1. Hmmm I can’t agree with this. Martinelli is more a central striker for me. He’s gifted but not consistent. Plays sensational games and then he’s invisible. Smith Row is not gifted technically and certainly not more technical than Gakpo or Martinelli. E Smith Rowe is a hard working chap, with decent skills but lacking speed. Both Gakpo and Martinelli are way quicker and Arsenal need depth in their game.

  3. Watched PSV vs Ajax. Good start for van Nistelroy. PSV were a better team. I think for Ajax they will have alot to take away from this game especially the GK area.

    In attack Bergwijn brings a totally different package to tadic when he plays on wing and considering how instrumental he was last season, him moving to striker massively has shifted the dynamics of the team. Bergwijn is more a runner and average on the ball ( holding, tight spaces). If you compare him to Gakpo in the game though both played well, Gakpo was very instrumental with his crosses and again something which tadic brings as well whereas bergwijn only brought threat from open space which is his trade mark. This is something the management will have to contemplate on especially with CL in mind and with haller gone. In eredivisie it should be ok. Still early stages though. Ajax has also bought that Italian striker from serie B

    Must also say here apart from bergwijn goal, Hoever really kept him quiet on that flank. He is gonna grow into a fine FB. Obispo as well at CB.

    I also liked RVN’s formation. It looked like 4-2-3-1 changing to 4-4-2 with Til becoming a shadow/ false striker. I think this is very good for Veerman’s growth and both him and Sangare were switching sides as well. Veerman also seems to be improving on his break downs apart from his trademark passes. Can see him and frenkie doing the same in NT. Both koeman and Van Gaal were in the stands and would have noted alot of things.

    For Ajax, the departures has left some vacuum to some extent.Gorter conceded some cheap goals and gifted some as well. The backline arielly looked vunerable and again Til expolited this to his advantage big time. Was also suprised when bassey came on to replace wijndal at LB. This cannot continue. He is more a CB and again the management needs to contemplate on who plays at LB. With schuurs likely to depart, they will need to invest in that area especially from CL point of view and a good one.

    Taylor looked good as well and was playing typical like frenkie in van gaal’s system. Falling back to fill in as third CB in distribution and then leading the attack as well. Break downs is where he needs to be assessed more and probably where his faith will be sealed.

    On a serious note I hope Van Gaal has seen why its no use investing in berghuis. He was a ghost in the first and only on Antony’s goal ( build up) I realized he was playing.kudus injected some much needed life in the mid after coming on for him and scoring as well

    Simons goal was classy as well. Replaced Gakpo on the left. Left klaassen for dead with his quick feet and then one two link up in the box and around gorter.

    Man of the Match Gakpo.

  4. For PSV I think they need a better striker than luuk de jong if they want to dream big in CL.luuk will score goals for fun in eredivisie but at CL level he will be massacred. I hope their new Brazilian striker is profilic one. 0

  5. Jay Gorter indeed didn’t help himself or his team. I think he could have done better with the three first goals conceded.

    Ajax had the best of the game in the first 30 minutes and should have done more with that. If they scored 2-0 I think Ajax would have won this. PSV was more efficient. The two headed goals by Til were more the fault of Rensch not being able to control Gakpo. Never let him go to this right foot. It’s not that hard.

    It’s a bit of a bigger story than “the ajax defenders are weak in the air”. Rensch is good on the ball, and he was great for the 1-0, but defensively he’s still a weak spot.

    Berghuis is playing in the Gravenberch role in case you missed it and even though he might not shine every match, he’s very important in Ajax’ system.

  6. “Berghuis is playing in the Gravenberch role in case you missed”

    Really, I saw Taylor dropping deep and playing as an extra CB during distribution from the back. Thought the midfield was a point forward with berghuis on top and Talyor and Alvarez behind him. At times it would become point backwards with Taylor launching forward and Alvarez at base. My observations.

    Also wasnt kudu’s a straight swap for berghuis at AM.

    For Rensch there is still finger pointing going on as to how he got the nod in NT. Remember what Van gaal said about him and how karsdorp was overlooked to him at that particular point in time. Even Hoever looked better than him containing Bergwijn to him on Gakpo. I think any FB in eredivisie would struggle with Gakpo.

    The CBs surely got expoiloted arielly as they are there for the very purpose as primary last line of defense. Hope van gaal would have noted this. Again I have said this about Timber plenty times.for Blind 🤐🧐

    1. Correction Went back and relooked.the Ajax mid was more like a point back wards. Taylor on the left , Alverez in the middle, berghuis on the right with Taylor moving up and down. Like mentionef slotting in at LCB.

  7. I am planning to do a similar post on Feyenootd (and maybe AZ) but the Feyenoord squad looks like the Sagrada Familias… Always in scaffolds, and needing work… There is still a big chance Aursner will move to Benfica and there is Italian interest for Senesi while Kokcu might leave as well, still… Tough times in Rotterdam, the result of their recent success.

    Bazoer signs for 3 years with AZ Alkmaar, as Midtsjo has moved away from the club to Galatasaray.

  8. @ Jan

    ‘Hmmm I can’t agree with this. Martinelli is more a central striker for me. He’s gifted but not consistent. Plays sensational games and then he’s invisible. Smith Row is not gifted technically and certainly not more technical than Gakpo or Martinelli. E Smith Rowe is a hard working chap, with decent skills but lacking speed. Both Gakpo and Martinelli are way quicker and Arsenal need depth in their game”

    I think you speaking from his goal that he scored vs chelsea (through the middle) that he is more a central striker. he cant play centrally (congestly). if this was the case Artera would have unlocked him by now instead of Eddie Nketiah. he is a runner and yes can be play centrally but in typical situation where balls are floated over the top for him to chase. some thing like how danjuma is deployed now at Villareal. agree he is in consistent but he still has long way to go at 21. emile smith rowe can play any where behind the striker and thats why I said he is technically better

  9. Under Schreuder, Ajax is playing more of a flat midfield three, with Alvarez in the centre holding and then Taylor and Berghuis on the same line but right and left, as opposed to Ten Hag who played the 3 in a 6-8-10 formation. It seems that Schreuder will be utilizing a lot of rotation through the year, which should be good if Ajax wants to make a European, Cup and League run.

    I actually think PSV looks really good. I watched them against Ajax and against Monaco, the only issue is against Monaco they seemed gassed by the 60th minute. I think the difference between Ajax and PSV will be Ajax’s ability to rotate players through the season. Hopefully PSV can get into the CL this year, though I think Europa League is closer to their level.

  10. Sangare is an intergal piece in PSV mid. If he gets injured, PSV will easily collapse. They need to offload some players from there and bring in better reinforcement there if they want to dream big and with CL in mind. They also need a profilic striker over luck de jong as well.

    For Ajax I think they have failed bring the right balance after the depatures and tadic playing as a striker wont help this sutuation as well.cant see them replicating the last season.

  11. Guys you remember Jizz Hornkamp. I talked about him few times here. Made his debut with heerenveen, before ending up in eerste divisie with De Bosch and was then signed by Willem11 late season who got relegated again. Apparently epl new comers Nottingham forest are in negotiation to sign him with talks going on. He is a good striker, let’s see how this one ends up.

  12. Ten Hag lost his first game. I can’t understand the Dutch coach’s decision to pick club. Ten Hag left an Ajax team that is on the way up to join the dumpster fire MU. He did not have backing to get what he want in the market. He came to the first game of the season without a proper striker. Same went for Koeman, he left Dutch team that could have done very well at Euro to join Barca. And they gave him no money, took away all the stars. At the end of the day, this is their choices and they reap what they sow.

    1. Ten Hag got won everything in HOlland already and to “become big” like Van Gaal or Hidink , he has to go out.

      I watched him since day in with man utd, and its a real disappointment losing that game. A shame not only to himself but also Dutch coaches reputation.

      Though I believe Ten Hag will learn from this and bounce back. I dont think he would become another Frank De boer, though he will have to deal with the enormous pressure next two games.

      Ten Hag also lacks the backup of the club and he cant get the players he wants (De jong, Antony, right back, striker, Defensive midfielder etc

      What I cannot understand is what is in Frenkie De Jongs head????????? he really cannot see Barcelona doesn’t treasure dutch players (and coach) and Man Utd would be the only place he can shine (with Ten Hag playing him at his best position). Seriously @jan, cant frenkie see this???????

      1. Trust me, Frenkie knows exactly what is going on. The club has sunk in my respect for them. They’re bullying him to go. Xavi doesn’t let him start at the moment, but when he comes on – like in the second half v Pumas – he runs the show (and scored a great goal).

        The thing is: Barca owes him 17 million euros in back payment. Frenkie basically said: you want me to go? Fine. I’ll go. But first pay me what you owe me.

        The club doesn’t want to and are now threatening with legal action as Frenkie allegedly was part of a criminal move when his deal was renewed, last year. All BS.

        Frenkie is a smart guy himself and he has a manager with lots of integrity. The father of a friend, not a typical agent (although many Dutch internationals are now with him, since Raiola died).

        Frenkie will get his pay-check as contractually owed to him and then he’ll most likely go to Chelsea or Man United. If I was Real Madrid, I would lure him to the capital so he can still live in Spain and destroy Barelona on the pitch.

        1. Well yes and I’d really love to see him playing under ten hag again

          Though the high number of games I’m not sure if that’s good for Oranje Eventually

          Going to Chelsea may be honestly better for him since the the team May “ rely less” on him

          Will see what happens very soon

        2. @Jan, exactly. I hope Frenkie doesn’t leave that cesspit of a club until he gets every single dime back. The way they are treating him is beyond disgusting. I hate barca now including Xavi. What a bunch of jerk.s . They know no limits, terrible characters, I wish them the worst.

          1. Yes a lot of people have changed their attitude towards Barca. Pundits and commentators across Europe are wondering what the F they’re doing

      2. I agree that he has to go out, but MU is a bad choice, especially they do not back him up in the transfer market. This is what I refer to. ETH and Koeman both made bad choice by joining “big clubs” on paper without talking to them and make sure they have a plan or agree to their plan. Sadly that lead to trouble for him and also damage Dutch coaches reputation.

        On the bright side, Gio is doing very well.

  13. Watched Nice vs Toulouse. May have slipped under the radar but Toulouse picked up Thijs Dalinga in the transfer window from Excelsior. He scored some 30 + goals last season for them in eerste divisie. Scored the opener for Toulouse with a tap in from close range. The game ended in a draw. He looks like a striker who can be decsive if serviced well and on time. Had one shot come of the post after a nice through ball from the middle which put him into clear. First game to watch Branco van den Broomen who is the captain of Toulouse and also stijn spierings. Van den Boomen seems to be Veerman esque player, can open up the game with one pass or overhead balls. He actually assisted in dallinga’s goal and was ever present on set pieces and corners. Spierings and Van den Boomen were both at the mid base .spierings was aggressive and looked good in breakdowns as well. Zakaraia Aboukhlal who they also picked up from AZ came late in the game. Still early stages, let’s see how they do with the big boys

    For Nice both stengs and Rosario started. Stengs did have few good interventions but really looked flat atimes like berghuis. The only difference being he does goes outside and has decent right foot interventions when needed. Rosario started at DM and was pretty much occupied in breakdown areas. Was subbed of after receiving YC

  14. Agree and Good start to the season for them as well. They might miss out on this WC but 2024-2026 certainly looks to be hotting up. I mean there can’t be any excuse. There will 2-3 solid options in each department.

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