Home defeat against AZ marks dramatic start of 2021 for PSV. Next up is Sparta Rotterdam.

Club logo's. Credit: Sparta Rotterdam and PSV Eindhoven

PSV’s first home loss of 2021 is a fact, after yesterday’s weak performance against AZ. With only one point from two matches, it is clear that there is work to do. Without much time for reflection, Roger Schmidt has to get his men back up their feet for the match against Sparta, Saturday in Rotterdam.

Roger Schmidt left Mario Götze, Cody Gakpo, and Noni Madueke out of the selection, so they could recover from minor injuries. The German head coach started with the following eleven: Mvogo: Dumfries, Teze, Boscagli, Max; Rosario, Sangaré; Thomas, Ihattaren; Zahavi and Malen.

AZ coach Pascal Jansen started without the injured Svensson and Vlaar. His starting eleven were: Bizot; Sugawara, Hatzidiakos, Martins Indi, Wijndal; Stengs, Koopmeiners, Midtsjø; Guðmundsson, Boadu and Karlsson.

First half

The match against AZ started way different from the one against Ajax. PSV didn’t attack full force from the start and let AZ keep the field open to pass the ball around. The first danger took place in the ninth minute. Olivier Boscagli gave a pass in the depth on Eran Zahavi, but he failed to control the ball properly and let the chance to make it a serious chance pass by.

Five minutes later, there was some miscommunication between Zahavi and Denzel Dumfries, which kept PSV again from creating a serious chance. The first shot on goal came from Donyell Malen in the 19th minute, but it passed the second goal post. Two minutes later, Mohamed Ihattaren gave a long pass into the penalty box, but goalkeeper Marco Bizot used his fists well and created rest in the AZ defence.

AZ club logo. Credit: AZ

The next chance for Malen followed soon after, and then another one, but he couldn’t make good use of them. Pablo Rosario needed a yellow card in the 26th minute to keep AZ from setting up a counter-attack. Two minutes later, Yvon Mvogo blundered when he unnecessarily came out of his goal and took Myron Boadu down. Teun Koopmeiners capitalized the penalty, and the 0-1 was a fact.

In the 38th minute, the same Boadu got a great opportunity on the 0-2, but he wasn’t sharp enough to capitalize the counter-attack. Just one minute later, it was again captain Koopmeiners who scored, this time with a back heel kick out of a corner kick. Boscagli wanted to fire on target during the next attack, but he hit the ball sky high over the bar.

Second half

PSV started the second half with Mauro Júnior for Ryan Thomas and showed more energy from the kick-off. The first ‘almost’ chance was for Dumfries, but his continuation was neither a pass nor shot on target. The Eindhoven side kept pushing and switching positions among players to create chaos in AZ’s defence.

The first free-kick near the penalty box came in the 58th minute when Malen was taken down and Pantelis Chatzidiakos received yellow. Phillip Max did a great job and lifted the ball perfectly over the AZ wall and into the net: 1-2. Ihattaren and Júnior tried to shoot on target to score the equalizer but failed terribly.

Ibrahim Sangaré also got a yellow card when he stopped Calvin Stengs from creating danger. Koopmeiners’ hard free-kick was blocked by Mvogo, and Ihattaren gave another pass into the penalty box, but PSV missed length to make any good headers out of it. With only twenty minutes on the clock, it didn’t look like the points were going to stay in Eindhoven.

Five minutes before time Marco van Ginkel made his comeback after 2,5 years of recovering from injuries, and Joel Piroe also got some playing time. Still, it was Stengs who brought the 1-3 on the scoreboard, after an assist from the man of the match, Koopmeiners.

With one point from two matches, 2021 hasn’t started very well for PSV, and head coach Schmidt has enough homework to do yet again. This time it was a lot about intensity, much more than about tactics, which can’t happen if you want to win titles.

Next opponent: Sparta Rotterdam

For an introduction and the historical background of the oldest professional Dutch football club, please read my article of last November right here.

Facts and Figures

For the history of all matches between PSV and Sparta, click the link above. Concerning results of away games in the Eredivisie context, we can see that PSV and Sparta met 57 times in total. PSV beat Sparta in 27 matches, while the points were split 17 times and stayed in Rotterdam on 13 occasions.

Club logo. Credit: Sparta Rotterdam

PSV and Sparta drew last season. The last time they lost was on three November 2001. The biggest home victory for the Rotterdammers dates back to the season of 1958/59. PSV’s biggest away victory at Het Kasteel was 0-5, which took place in the seasons of 1961/62 and 1998/99.

Sparta drew and kept the points in Rotterdam West only three times in the last thirty years. However, the last home victory of PSV wasn’t an easy one. Donyell Malen secured the victory with his first and only goal of the match in the 78th minute of the game.

Familiar faces

Head coach Henk Fraser knows PSV from his years as youth trainer at De Herdgang. He trained the Under 19 squad between 2009 and 2011. Goalkeeper Benjamin van Leer, defender Dirk Abels and midfielder Laros Duarte all played at the PSV Youth Academy in Eindhoven.

PSV captain Denzel Dumfries and defender Nick Viergever are Sparta youth exponents, while Joel Piroe played in Rotterdam on loan last season.

Current situation

Sparta currently holds a ninth position on the Eredivisie ranking. They won six but lost seven of all 15 matches so far, scoring and conceding 25 goals. They took only eight points during their home matches, but already 13 during away matches. The home draw against AZ Alkmaar was the most remarkable of the season so far.

Club top scorer is Lennart Thy, with nine goals. Sven Mijnans scored two goals and gave three assists, striker Mario Engels scored three goals and gave two assists. Deroy Duarte is the most valuable winger, with four goals and three assists. Rahmane Harraoui left his mark as a midfielder with five goals.

With Tommy Beugelsdijk, Michaël Heylen, Michael Pinto and Bart Vriends, Sparta have a lot of experience in the last line, where Dirk Abels usually plays as right back. Unfortunately for them, they weren’t able to keep Feyenoord from scoring two goals in the city derby of last weekend, but they kept the 0 in the game against Fortuna Sittard on Wednesday; third away victory in a row.

Situation PSV

Mario Götze is still out, and it remains to be seen whether Cody Gakpo and Noni Madueke will be back soon. If they are not, Roger Schmidt has to find other players who can bring the creativity they lacked against AZ due to the absence of these three.

Schmidt will surely have a serious message for his squad, in order to make them understand the way they played against AZ will not be accepted anymore for the remainder of this season.

Watch the pre-match press conference for the match against Sparta on Friday at 11:00 AM through this link, where it will be available also after it has ended.


Match information

Match:                                  Sparta Rotterdam – PSV

Date:                                    Saturday 16 January 2021

Time:                                    18:45 (6:45 PM)

Location:                               Het Kasteel, Rotterdam

Referee:                                 Bas Nijhuis

VAR:                                      Sander van der Eijk

Broadcast:                              ESPN


Article by Joey van der Hart for Eindhoven News

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