PSV Eindhoven have a lot of players that provide exuberant individual brilliance but the key to their good season so far is that Phillip Cocu has got them working as an effective cohesive unit.

  • By Chaka Simbeye
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Dutch Eredivisie - "PSV Eindhoven v AZ Alkmaar"PSV play a quick, counter attacking 4-3-3 that greatly relies on an understanding of the players, it has been a long time coming with great change and transition but Cocu has finally struck gold in this system.

After disappointing spells at Borussia Monchengladbach and Newcastle United, Luuk De Jong returned to the Eredivisie to replace Tim Matavz. His impact in the side has been devastating as he has played in a central striker in between Memphis Depay (or Jurgen Locadia) and Luciano Narsingh. His greatest attribute is his selflessness as he is always has his head up in possession searching for the sauntering runs of Depay and Narsingh either side of him, he also frequently drops deep to aid in build-up play and draw defenders allowing midfielders like Adam Maher to go past him and unsettle defences. De Jong has four goals and three assists this season but his defensive contribution also needs to be applauded as he wins aerial duels high up the pitch.

Memphis Depay made his first start in five weeks due to injury this week against Panathanaikos but his influence was instant. He scored a well-taken goal from a quick-counter attack as he received a devastating through ball from De Jong before rounding the keeper and scoring his sixth goal in nine appearances. After performing well in Brazil with the Dutch National Team, PSV tied him down to a new contract and he started the season well with consecutive braces in big wins against Willem II and NAC Breda before grabbing a goal in the game against Ajax. The Ajax game encompassed all of what PSV and Depay are about as they showed character to come back from a goal down against a team who dominated the possession but quick breaks and little pieces of individual brilliance allowed PSV to carve out three goals from THIRTY- SIX PERCENT of the possession. It’s hard to forget that Depay is only twenty years-old but he is vital player for PSV now and in the future.

Against PEC Zwolle when Depay limped off in the eighteenth minute and they lost 3-1, it seemed like PSV were going to fall apart like at the back end of last season when Willems, Schaars, Wijnaldum and Matavz were all out. However, they picked themselves up and dusted themselves off with Locadia and Narsingh pivotal to this. Last season against Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena, it is noticeable that PSV played with a front three of Depay, Locadia and Narsingh. Locadia played in the central striking role in the absence of Matavz and although he is a good finisher, he didn’t have the aerial presence to greatly influence play, PSV chased the ball well but lacked that little bit of directness in the middle to make a great difference. Now playing either side of De Jong, both Locadia and Narsingh have thrived attacking spaces as De Jong draws the attention of defenders allowing them to create and score. PSV don’t need a lot of possession as they get forward with devastating pace and when in full flow they can be overwhelmingly clinical. With De Jong as their fulcrum, Narsingh and Locadia have grabbed a combined six goals and four assists.

PSV haven’t altered their squad much this season starting with their most preferred back four from last season and if injuries didn’t prohibit it, the same midfield at the back end of last season with the exception of Jorrit Hendrix and Andres Guardado. After, years of transition, PSV finally have a settled squad littered with talent as they sit on top of the Eredivisie with 21 points before their match against Utrecht.

Chaka Simbeye (69 Posts)