Time for Cocu’s men to show consistency

With an amazing lead of 8 points after only 11 matches, PSV is travelling to Zwolle. The local team is one of the three numbers 3, haven’t lost a game at home this season, and the match is sold out already. A roundup of the last 2 weeks of PSV and a preview of this match is what this article is all about.

After a competition break with qualification and friendly matches for several national selections, all internationals are back in Eindhoven. Almost everybody is fit and ready to play; a real luxury for a team that’s on top of the league. Definitely also worth a compliment for the (medical) staff of PSV, who surely made a real effort to keep everybody healthy like this.

2 weeks ago, PSV went through the eye of a needle against FC Twente, beating the then number 13 with 4-3 by an own goal of Twente in the 91st minute. It shows the exact challenge for PSV in a nutshell: enough scoring capacity, but a lack of defensive solidity. Jürgen Locadia and Hirving Lozano have both scored 9 goals, Marco van Ginkel 7. But Nicolas Isimat-Mirin and Daniel Schwaab have collected 13 goals in 11 matches, and that’s too much. Of course, the reason to complain isn’t too urgent when you’re leading with 8 points more than the number 2 on the ranking, but it might become serious once you drop points in a lesser period later on this season.

Lozano caused a lot of danger during his matches with Mexico, scoring 2 goals in and against Belgium. Rumours say Arsenal and Manchester City have become interested in the successful winger, media started speculating about transfer fees, but it’s very unlikely the newly signed international will leave so soon. Definitely not before the World Championships in Russia.

Luuk de Jong scored another goal after making his comeback with the Dutch national selection. He scored against FC Twente, last week, his first competition goal since 11 March. Because of this draught, he also lost his place in the national selection. He was invited again last week, only after first choices Vincent Jansen, Bas Dost and Jürgen Locadia had to pass due to injuries. The 0-3 against Romania, ten minutes before the whistle, was his first since May 27.

Gastón Pereiro made his debut for Uruguay against Poland, Bart Ramselaar performed really well with the Netherlands U21, Sam Lammers also scored a goal for them, while the injured Santiago Arias stayed at home and became a father for the first time. All in all quite some players have had a good time with their national selections and possibly brought that positive feeling back to the training field.

Back to PEC
PEC Zwolle has impressed almost every season since their promotion to the Eredivisie in 2012. In 2014, living off a budget of €9.000.000,00 only, the ‘Bluefingers’ reached an eleventh position in the Eredivisie. More importantly, they humiliated Ajax during the national Cup Finals, beating the Amsterdammers with 5-1, and beating them with 1-0 again during the Johan Cruyff Schaal (national Super Cup) finals. As KNVB Cup winners, PEC Zwolle played European football for the first time. They drew at home against Sparta Prague, but lost the away game with 1-3. The following 2 seasons saw the club end 6ht and 8th on the Eredivisie ranking.
They started using the brand new stadium in 2008 and expanded it from a capacity of 10.000 then to 13.250 now, almost the double of the former stadium. The financial budget is upgraded to €12.000.000,00, the last deal was closed with Heineken, last Tuesday, who are taking over duties from Jupiler beer. These are just some numbers to show how the club is working towards becoming a stable team for the midsection of the Eredivisie. While their last season wasn’t very successful with a 14th position, PEC Zwolle is back stronger than ever, currently sharing the number 2 position with Ajax and AZ.

The most famous players in the history of PEC are Rinus Israël, Bert Konterman, Johnny Rep, Piet Schrijvers, Jaap Stam, Eric Botteghin, Niklas Moisander and Tomáš Necid. With Dirk Marcellis, Youness Mokhtar and Stef Nijland, they have 3 players with a history in Eindhoven, of whom Marcellis and Mokhtar are products of PSV’s Youth Academy. Art Langeler was the one who coached the team from Zwolle to the Eredivisie, before he became Head of Youth in Eindhoven. Current head coach John van ‘t Schip has not only played for Ajax, Genoa and the Dutch national team but is also experienced as trainer and coach. He worked for Ajax, FC Twente, as an assistant for the Dutch national team and was a successful head coach for Melbourne Heart, Guadalajara and Melbourne City FC. Assistant coach Dwight Lodeweges has just quit his extra job as head coach of the Dutch U20 because he wants to completely focus on PEC.

Count all these facts together and you know this Sunday isn’t gonna be an easy one for PSV!

In history, PSV played 17 away games in Zwolle, won 12 of them and lost only 2. They scored 39 goals and collected 12. PEC only won 1 of the 5 last matches at the MAC3PARK Stadium. The last away match in Zwolle took place in August of 2016 when PSV beat PEC with 0-4. This season, PSV has scored 20 goals more than PEC in 11 matches only, but the blue-whites have collected 3 less. The team from the northeast have won all 4 games at home and only lost 1 away game, against Ajax, with 3-0. Winger Mokhtar is top scorer with 5 goals, PEC’s strikers have issues finding the net as of yet.

Final word
Even though a top match, PSV simply has to win this game, again, simply because it’s PSV. Now is the time to show growth, and PEC Zwolle is a team that wants to make the play. With no European football, a six times bigger budget and 3 attackers who want to and can become top scorers of the competition, there´s so much to say for why the 3 points should come back to Eindhoven. It’s time for Phillip Cocu’s men to show consistency.

Match Information
Date: Sunday 19 November 2017
Time: 14:30h
Location: MAC³PARK stadion, Zwolle
Referee: Björn Kuipers
Broadcast: Fox Sports Eredivisie (probably channel 1)
Tickets: SOLD OUT

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