A look at Andres Guardado who is currently holding the fort in the league-leader’s midfield and how he has developed over the season.

  • By Chaka Simbeye
  • Follow Chaka on Twitter

0000 guarA man, who became well-known as a lethal left winger when he first arrived at Deportivo La Coruna from Atlas in 2007 for a record fee received by a Mexican club at 7 million euros, is now rediscovering himself in a three man midfield at PSV Eindhoven. Andres Guardado joined PSV after being shuttled to left-back at Valencia and an uneventful loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen . The Mexican has taken on a more responsible role in the Eredivisie as an elder-statesman in a vibrant and youthful PSV Eindhoven.

At the beginning, he had to work his way into PSV starting line-up as the prodigious Jorrit Hendrix held down a place with Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Maher either side of him but an injury allowed Guardado to get a look-in. Doubters were turned to believers at the sight of his long-range passing and discipline as he covered for Jetro Willems and allowed Hendrix to drive forward with boisterous runs. As he had a background as an attacker, one would assume that Guardado would be easily drawn forward but the Mexican chose to stay back and although it is a cliché, ‘let the ball do the work’. The season before an injury to important players like Wijnaldum and Willems derailed PSV’s season and it was an objective not to allow history to repeat itself during red and white’s transfer season as even though Marcel Ritzmaier returned from a loan at Cambuur and Hendrix began to establish himself as a midfielder, Marcel Brands and Phillip Cocu still decided to loan Guardado to add numbers to the squad.

After Wijnaldum return from injury it seemed like Guardado was set for peripheral role until Hendrix’s red card against ADO Den Haag where he was given a chance to be more integral to PSV’s style of play in a more central role. Guardado now had the arduous task of demanding possession from the centre-backs Bruma and Rekik and release the ball into PSV’s quick and lethal band of attackers. At the beginning, he seemed at odds with the position as he was too enthusiastic to play long balls instead of keeping the ball and allowing PSV to build quick attacks, he was easily muscled off the ball and too quick to chase attackers out wide leaving his centre-backs short of security. However, with more regular game time he has adapted well and this has resulted in him being more assured with the ball and understanding when to play a short, quick passing game or go long and direct, he has resisted his urge and instead drops in between the two centre backs to allow the wide-midfielder, full-back and centre-back to create 3v1 or 3v2 situations out wide.

It is of little wonder why PSV are intent on making his move more permanent as he could be the perfect replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum who would most probably be on his way out in the summer. However, the Mexican is beginning to find his home in the ‘sitting’ role of PSV’s midfield three and is beginning to replicate the performances of the Eredivisie’s best defensive midfielders as his pass percentage is 83% while Jordy Clasie’s is 84% and Thulani Serero’s is a stunning 88%. Although Guardado creates more chances with over 1.19 per game with Clasie at 0.88 and Serero at 0.65, the Mexican’s counterparts show their formidability in recovering possession with Serero at 2.47, Clasie at 2.24 and Guardado lagging behind at 1.91. It should also be kept in mind that Guardado is winning an astounding 61% of his duels compared to Clasie’s 49% and Serero’s 55%.

Guardado has certainly found his stride in the Eredivisie with league leaders PSV and it will be interesting to see if he keeps his place with Hendrix return on the horizon. The tricky, pacy left winger from Mexico has finally found his place in the heart of PSV’s midfield in Holland but keeping it for the rest of this season is another story. However, he will certainly be a very important part of this PSV side which could be altered come next season, if he is allowed to stay.

Chaka Simbeye (69 Posts)