PSV came home with only one point, after the draw against Ajax. Not good, but not too bad either, and there’s not much time to rack their brains. On Wednesday AZ comes to Eindhoven for the second top match in four days.
The first Eredivisie weekend started with the top match of the season: Ajax – PSV. Roger Schmidt had to leave Mario Götze out of the selection because he wasn’t fit enough. He started with the following eleven: Mvogo; Dumfries, Teze, Boscagli, Max; Sangaré, Rosario; Gakpo, Ihattaren; Zahavi and Malen.
Ajax coach Ten Hag let newcomer Sébastien Haller start on the bench and sent the following eleven to the kick-off: Onana; Mazraoui, Schuurs, Blind, Tagliafico; Klaassen, Gravenberg; Antony, Promes, Tadic; Labyad.
PSV started attacking directly from the kick-off and got their first corner kick after just half a minute. The first real chance came for Eran Zahavi, who also put the 1-0 on the scoreboard. Ajax fought back but wasn’t able to become really dangerous and had several misunderstandings among their forward players.
Their first shot on target came in the 19th minute, but it was an easy catch for Yvon Mvogo. Two minutes later, it was again Zahavi who hit the 2-0 against the nets. The fact that it was the Jewish striker who scored both goals must have hurt the Amsterdammers quite a bit since they failed to sign him at the start of the season.
When Dušan Tadić hit the goal post, just before the half-time, it marked the momentum in which PSV started losing the grip. Ajax slowly but securely got into the driver’s seat, and the same Tadić assisted Quincy Promes, who brought the 1-2 on the scoreboard in the 40th minute.
Just before half time, Mohamed Ihattaren assisted to what should have become the 1-3, but Zahavi got the ball too far behind him to hit home. An unfortunate way to end the first half, where PSV had its best part in the first half-hour.
PSV started the second half with the same eleven, while Ajax brought Sébastian Haller for Zakaria Labyad. It took the Amsterdammers only two minutes to become dangerous, but neither the chance nor following corner kick was capitalised.
The €22,5 million French striker Haller immediately showed his worth when he scored the equaliser, but saw it called off due to offside. If PSV weren’t awake yet, they should have been by now.
Two minutes later Davy Klaassen got a yellow card for torpedoing Cody Gakpo at the corner of the penalty box. Philipp Max’s free-kick forced André Onana to stretch to the far upper corner, with a corner kick as a result. Zahavi’s header, unfortunately, wasn’t hard enough to surprise Onana for the third time.
Antony Dos Santos’s header in the 61st minute missed sharpness, but he managed to bring the 2-2 on the scoreboard with a shot, four minutes later. Cody Gakpo had gotten injured and was substituted for Ryan Thomas in the 68th minute when the time was running out for PSV to make a serious comeback.
The game had now turned into a cat-and-mouse play, with Ajax trying to get PSV out of their compact setup. During attacks, they kept pushing their way through into PSV’s penalty box, leaving Schmidt’s with their backs against the wall.
Mauro Júnior replaced Donyell Malen in the last 15 minutes of the game after the striker had asked for a substitution. With two midfielders for two strikers, PSV were finally able to take a bit more control. Nine minutes before time Érick Gutiérrez made his comeback after months of recovering from an ankle injury, and Noni Madueke replaced Ihattaren.
PSV started creating more danger now, but Devyne Rensch kept PSV from scoring the 2-3 right before the official playing time. Mvogo also made a last save in the second minute of the extra time, and two minutes later Björn Kuipers blew the final whistle.
Looking at the full 90 minutes, the 2-2 is probably a correct reflection of this first top match of the season. Roger Schmidt takes it from the positive side in an interview with ESPN: ”It was a tough game against a good opponent…If we are currently drawing and could even have won, that’s a good signal.”
Watch the full resume right here.
Next opponent: AZ Alkmaar
AZ Alkmaar is the current number five of the Eredivisie, with six points less than PSV. In recent years, the Noord-Holland club started to consider themselves as one of the top four teams of the Netherlands. A bit odd, if you look at how small their budget (€25,5 million), history, and trophy cabinet is, but it’s true that they have become a more serious competitor.
AZ was established in 1967, after a fusion between Alkmaar ’54 and FC Zaanstreek. They had their first best era between 1976 and 1982, with four third final rankings, one second and even their first national championship in 1981. That year, they also won the national Dutch KNVB Cup and reached the final of the UEFA Cup tournament.
In the seven following years, the Kaaskoppen (‘Cheeseheads’) relegated to the Eerste Divisie, where they stated until 1996. The first season after, they promoted back to the Eredivisie, then relegated again, and promoted back again, and stayed in the Eredivisie ever since.
From 1999 until now, AZ has finished in the top five thirteen seasons, with their second championship – in 2009 – as the absolute highlight. Louis van Gaal was the head coach at the time, and his squad consisted of players like Moussa Dembélé, Ragnar Klavan, Jeremain Lens, Héctor Moreno, Graziano Pelle, Sergio Romero and Stijn Schaars.
The Alkmaar club also built a name with their youth academy, through which they have started to deliver more and more quality players. Some of the best-known exponents are Khalid Boulahrouz, Phillip Cocu, Jeremain Lens, Ron Vlaar and Ruud Vormer.
In recent years, the club management has stated not to sell their players to any top Dutch teams anymore, as they see Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord as competitors for the national title. Their absolute top transfer so far was when they received €20 million for Vincent Janssen, who signed a contract at Tottenham Hotspur in July 2016.
Facts and Figures
PSV played a total of 90 duels against AZ throughout history. PSV won 52 and lost 22 matches, scoring 192 and conceding 97 goals. In the context of the Eredivisie competition, PSV has a winning percentage of 76,2%, losing only five of the 42 games. With a goal average of 2,79 versus 0,95, the numbers are clearly speaking in favour of the Eindhoven side.
The first match dates back to the season of 1968/1969 when AZ was sent home with a 2-1 defeat. However, on the last occasion, 27 October 2019, they took the three points home to Alkmaar. The last home victory was from December 2018, when the final score was 3-1.
The following players represented AZ prior to their signing at PSV: Phillip Cocu, Danny Koevermans, Jan Kromkamp, Jeremain Lens, Derrick Luckassen, Adam Maher, Oscar Moens, Héctor Moreno, Kenneth Perez, Simon Poulsen, Stijn Schaars, Khalid Sinouh, Nick Viergever and Boy Waterman.
The following players played for AZ after they had been under contract in Eindhoven: Zacharia Aboukhlal, Roy Beerens, John Bosman, Gino Coutinho, Hans Gillhaus, Michael Lamey, Dirk Marcellis, Adil Ramzi, Ronald Waterreus, Stijn and Jan Wuytens.
Dick Advocaat, Hans Kraay sr., Bert van Marwijk and Piet de Visser also worked at the club in various roles. Marcel Brands was technical director for AZ between 2005 and 2010, where he worked closely together with Toon Gerbrands. Both would later continue their collaboration with PSV in Eindhoven.
AZ currently has two former PSV youth players in their squad: Zakaria Aboukhlal and Albert Guðmundsson. Both players left PSV because they felt they had a better perspective on playing time in the Eredivisie in Alkmaar. Their impatience hasn’t served them well: Aboukhlal has played only 16 matches in one, and a half-season, Guðmundsson played only 29 matches in two and a half seasons. The Icelander has recently even been moved back to the Under 21 squad, due to negative attitude issues.
Head coach Pascal Jansen was appointed on 5 December 2020, after Arne Slot was fired because he allegedly spoke with Feyenoord for a job starting next season. Jansen worked in Eindhoven between 2013 and 2018, where he trained the Under 19 and Under 21 both for two years and was head of youth in the year after. He now uses that experience to work with players from the AZ Academy, such as Myron Boadu, Ferdy Druijf, Teun Koopmeiners, Calvin Stengs and Owen Wijndal.
With Marco Bizot, Jordie Clasie, Bruno Martins Indi and Ron Vlaar, he has some well experienced Dutch internationals in the team. In contrast, Jonas Svensson – who is currently injured -, Pantelis Hatzidiakos and Fredrik Midtsjø have proven their worth in the last three seasons. Jesper Karlsson has shown to be a great attraction on the left-wing, with five goals and five assists in 13 matches.
Mario Götze was left out of the squad in Amsterdam, but he might be fit to play against AZ. Cody Gakpo and Donyell Malen left the pitch slightly injured, so it remains to be seen if they are ready for the match on Wednesday.
For the last updates, watch the pre-match press conference on PSV’s YouTube Channel.
Match: PSV – AZ Alkmaar
Date: Wednesday 13 January 2021
Time: 18:45 (6:45 PM)
Location: Philips Stadion, Eindhoven
Article by Joey van der Hart for Eindhoven News
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