The fans in Eindhoven can’t wait to see their favorite team kick off the final sprint of the season. After an international break, the selection is complete again and need not even win all their remaining 6 matches to become national champions. Winning all home matches only will do, but ofcourse a real champion wins all 6.
PSV did the best thing it could do after the embarrassing beating they got in Tilburg: get back up on their feet the next match and keep the 3 points in Eindhoven before the interland-break. The 3-0 victory over VVV was nothing exceptional for an upcoming national champion, but simply neccessary after losing face the week before and to keep all heads cool during the 2 weeks without a match that were coming up.
Because of this, the 7 point lead on main rival Ajax is kept intact and thus there is no real pressure on coach Phillip Cocu’s staff or squad for the remaining 6 matches.
Many of the players of PSV’s A-selection joined their national selection in order to play either friendly or qualification matches for diverse tournaments. ‘Chucky’ Lozano performed with Mexico against Albert Guðmundsson’s Iceland, after which his coach Juan-Carlos Osorio again mentioned he has to work on his temperament during situations during the match. He had said the same thing of Lozano after his visit in Eindhoven, last month.
Santiago Arias – of whom this Welsh newspaper says he has the serious attention of Swansea City – won a friendly match with Colombia against France, but drew against Australia. Jeroen Zoet played a not-so-lucky match with the Netherlands, Eloy Room performed with Curuçao and Steven Bergwijn, Sam Lammers, Pablo Rosario and Bart Ramselaar (as captain) formed an important core of the Dutch Under 21 team. They got a serious beating from Belgium’s Under 21 but then kind of recovered with a 0-1 victory over Andorra.
Meanwhile Kenneth Paal played his matches with the Dutch Under 20 and Armando Obispo, Donyell Malen and Cody Gakpo all made minutes for the Dutch Under 19 squad. Unfortunately the boys from the Under 19 lost their match against Germany’s Under 19 squad with 4-1 and so they come back to Eindhoven with the experience of knowing they have messed up their chance to participate at the European Championships. Which probably makes them more hungry to perform better for PSV…
Van Bommel to World Championships with Australia
Former PSV players cq. current PSV youth trainers Mark Van Bommel and Jürgen Dirkx have also been active on the international platform. Both got permission from PSV’s direction to become assistant trainers of Bert van Marwijk for the national selection of Australia. The Aussies have already qualified for the upcoming World Championships in Russia, but saw their head coach quit after being strongly criticised by the media for his switching of 4-3-3 to a 5-3-2 system.
Van Marwijk, the 65-year-old father in law of Van Bommel and succesfull former head coach of Feyenoord and the Dutch national team, earlier also quit his job, after succesfully coaching Saudi Arabia to the World Championships. He now got the chance to still coach a team at the same tournament, with the same assistants, something the national association of the named country wouldn’t allow him to. Few clubs can say that they have youth trainers participating at such a big tournament, but PSV can. With very short time to prepare, they lost their first friendly match in Oslo with 4-1 against Norway. Several days later they kept Colombia on a 0-0 draw in London, so Van Bommel and Dirkx also come back home with a bit of new hope for the future.
Next opponent: NAC Breda
NAC Breda is coming to Eindhoven this saturday. The club promoted last season after two years in the Jupiler League and has managed to keep its head 6 points above the danger zone so far. With a minor budget of only €11,5 million the yellow and blacks have managed to rent a couple of very talented players from Manchester City, such as left-back Angeliño, central defender Pablo Marí, attacking midfielder Manuel García, wingers Thomas Agyepong and Paolo Fernades, and strikers Thierry Ambrose and Umar Sadiq.
NAC has also four exponents of the PSV Youth Academy in their selection: keeper Nigel Bertrams, defender Menno Koch, midfielder Olivier Rommens and offensive midfielder Rai Vloet, of which only the last is doing quite well throughout the whole season so far. Belgian head coach Stijn Vreven is an interesting figure, being very calm off the pitch, but hot headed as soon as the whistle blows. This season only, he has already been banned to the stands on three occasions, the last time three weeks ago. Everything put together, this saturday match might be a one to look out for. But what do the statistics say?
PSV played 161 matches against NAC Breda throughout history. PSV won 89 and lost 41 of them. PSV scored 392 times, NAC scored 246 times. PSV’s biggest home victory took place in the season of 1982/83, when they beat NAC with 8-1. In the season of 1921/22 they got their most serious beating by the team from Breda in a home match: 4-9. From the 75 home matches, PSV won 50 and lost only 13. They scored 209 goals and conceded 100. The last time NAC won in Eindhoven was on 28 May of 1995, when they took the points to Breda after a 2-4 victory. PSV won all their last 5 home matches, in which they scored 17 and conceded only 2 (!).
Pascal Lundqvist is once again out of the running. He seemed to finally be back after a long time of recovery after a knee surgery, but now he had to go under the knife for his left knee. He won’t be able to play for the rest of the season. Other than that, only Maxi Romero isn’t fit to play a full match, but (most of) the rest of the selection is 100% fit, and hopefully for Phillip Cocu, very hungry to start in the basis eleven.
Match: PSV – NAC
Date: Saturday 31 March
Location: Philips Stadion, Eindhoven
Referee: Pol van Boekel
Broadcast: Fox Sports Eredivisie Live
Tickets: SOLD OUT
For Eindhoven News: Joey van der Hart
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