If someone had told you six weeks ago that PSV would be down in 8th place, 8 points off the league leaders and 5 games without a win you would probably had laughed at them. So, exactly what is the reason for this sudden slump in form Phillip Cocu’s side have entered?

  • By Sam Robertson 
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wijnaldum 12There are a number of explanations which could be offered but the one that stands out the most is the absence of their playmaker and captain, Georginio Wijnaldum.

PSV started the season very well, going their first 7 league games unbeaten and looking by far the best team in the Eredivisie. They also raised a lot of eyebrows with their performances against AC Milan in the Champions League qualifiers where they really gave the Italian giants a run for their money.

One of the main reasons for their early success was the influence of Georginio Wijnaldum. However, since their 4-0 defeat of Ajax back in October, the team has only won once which has piled the pressure on to manager Phillip Cocu. At the start of November managing director Marcel Brands denied the club was in a crisis, but he may have to rethink that after the poor form has continued throughout the month.

The captain has only played 6 games this season but in those games he managed to score 4 goals and also create 4 chances while averaging a pass accuracy of 85%. The Dutchman was playing very well and even received a call-up to the national side but his injury prevented him playing any part. Wijnaldum was appointed captain at the start of the season after Kevin Strootman’s departure from the club but the midfielder has been struggling with a back injury since the Under 21 championships in the summer. PSV originally thought that a few weeks on the sidelines would cure the injury but the problem has escalated with Wijnaldum expected to be out until the end of December.

Wijnaldum’s last game for the club was the 2-2 draw with Twente and since then, PSV have won 2 league games from a possible 8. Creativity isn’t really something PSV are missing with his absence as they still create a large numbers of chances every game but one thing Wijnaldum did well was score goals and that’s what PSV are struggling to do at the moment. Wijnaldum has a shot accuracy percentage of 47% this season which proves he is a fairly clinical player in front of goal. PSV have scored 11 league goals in 8 games in his absence compared to the 14 scored from the 6 games with him in the side. Once again this suggests they are missing that spark Wijnaldum provides going forward.

There are other explanations which can be offered for PSV’s poor form at the moment but they don’t quite exemplify it as well as Wijnaldum’s absence. Karim Rekik was a very important player at the start of the season for PSV but he, like Wijnaldum, picked up an injury and spent a spell on the sidelines. He played in their first 4 games of the season where they didn’t lose and they really struggled without him but he has returned to action and PSV haven’t won in the 3 games he’s played since.

Another reason could be the age and naivety of the PSV squad. More of half the roster are under the age of 23 and while they started the season in great form and impressing a lot of people, the lack of experience in the team may be hurting them. At 23, you could probably consider Wijnaldum as one of the more experienced players in the PSV team with this being his third season with the club and the midfielder having previous Eredivisie experience with Feyenoord. PSV should look to add some experience to the team, especially in defence where the average age of their regular back four is just 20. However, the early season form suggests PSV’s young side is capable of being a very good side; they just need some time to integrate as a unit.

One thing is for certain and that is Phillip Cocu desperately needs his team to start producing results as his future as PSV manager is already under threat. As for Georginio Wijnaldum, it’s still going to be a while before we see him back to full fitness. PSV have proved they are capable of being one of the league’s best teams, they just need to find a system which works for them and start taking their chances!

Sam Robertson (13 Posts)