Tomorrow night’s opponents PSV Eindhoven have picked up four wins out of four in the Eredivisie so far this season, scoring 13 and conceding just 1. To reach the group stage of the Champions League, they picked up 7-2 and 7-3 aggregate scorelines versus Sturm Graz and Rangers respectively.
Ahead of tomorrow night’s match, I spoke to Roelant from PSV Eindhoven International Facebook Group. Thank you to Roelant for answering the questions!
How long have you supported PSV Eindhoven?
I think I got into football when I was 12 years old, and I’m now 25, so 13 years. PSV was always the logical choice, because while I’m not from Eindhoven myself, my family is and I have always loved the city.
What are your hopes and expectations for the 2023/24 season?
It’s about time we win the Eredivisie title again, as it’s been 5 years (soon to be 6) since our last title win. Generally, I’d say we’re considered the favourites to win the Eredivisie, though Feyenoord especially will not make that easy.
What are your views on your manager?
We struck gold with Bosz. I think after all these years we all started to think that reactive, counter-attacking football is the only way for PSV to play, but in just a matter of months he has completely transformed the footballing philosophy in Eindhoven. The results are honestly great, we finally qualified for the Champions League again, and the players seem to really respect him. My only small gripe with him is that I think he’s frankly a bit too critical; we could beat Bayern 3-0 and he’d still mostly focus on the things he wants to improve. I’m afraid such an environment might not be the most well-suited for the players in the long run, in terms of motivation at least.
Style of play and tactics – direct/passing/hybrid?
Under Bosz, we have switched to a more passing-focused on-the-ball playstyle; a breath of fresh air for PSV. Much of our goal threat comes from crosses, so we rely heavily on our wingers. Set-pieces are also becoming a PSV specialty, especially corners.
One(s) to watch now and in the future?
As for players who have already made a name for themselves, I simply have to point out how remarkable our captain Luuk de Jong has been so far under Bosz. After a disappointing 2022-23 season, we were afraid this club legend had lost his goalscoring juices, but he’s been excellent in front of goal this season and appears to be enjoying quite the second wind. As for our youngsters, Belgian right-winger Johan Bakayoko has become a true talisman for our squad. He’s got pace, he’s got keen senses and he rarely makes mistakes. We recently acquired Hirving Lozano from Napoli, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Bakayoko keeps him benched for the foreseeable future. Then again, Bakayoko can probably also play as an attacking midfielder or even an all-out striker. Not to mention he’s also very professional; he reportedly turned down offers from PSG and a few Premier League sides in order to keep developing in Eindhoven.
Random fact about your Club?
Just last month at our 110th anniversary, PSV actually made the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest continuous sponsorship of a sports team in the world, ever. The company responsible for this achievement is of course the one we’re named after: Philips, who despite no longer being our shirt sponsor are still very much involved.
Which were your favourite and least favourite matches involving PSV Eindhoven?
On October 24th, 2010, we defeated Feyenoord 10-0 in the Eredivisie, which is probably the craziest PSV result ever. Many people would say our 1978 and 1988 European finals are their favourite PSV games, or perhaps our insane 2007 last matchday title victory, but I’m too young to have experienced those, so I will say our 2-1 victory over Manchester United in the 2015-16 Champions League was really special, though I imagine Luke Shaw disagrees. As for my least favourite PSV game, that’s easily our 0-1 defeat to Rangers FC in the Champions League play-off last year. We just gave it all away in such a frustrating manner. Glad we got to take revenge this year, and are back in the Champions League after a 5 year absence.
Which sides do you think will finish in the top four of the Eredivisie and which do you think will finish in the bottom three?
The way it looks right now, I think the top 4 will be 1) PSV, 2) Feyenoord, 3) FC Twente, 4) AZ Alkmaar. Ajax of course belong in the top 4 but they have been frankly shambolic so far. Bottom three will probably be FC Volendam, brave but unfortunate Almere City and struggling Vitesse.
What are your thoughts on Arsenal?
I really wish I had gotten interested in football a bit earlier, so I could have personally witnessed at least the later years of the fabled 2000s Arsène Wenger Arsenal. Still, just because I have only really known Arsenal as perpetual underachievers in recent years, it doesn’t mean you aren’t still a massive club in my eyes. I must say I am really liking Arsenal’s transfer dealings these past few years, and I think last season proved that it can really put Arsenal back where it belongs. It’s always good to see competitions get more competitive, and I hope Arsenal will be able to keep up this impressive run of form! Oh, also, the Emirates Stadium is just gorgeous, so bonus points for that.
If you could steal one Arsenal player for your own team, who would it be and why?
Bukayo Saka, without doubt. An exemplary football player and human being. Cherish him for as long as you have him.
What is your prediction for this match and how do you think you’ll do in the group stage?
An away game at the Emirates is a very tough start to this new Champions League adventure for us, and you got the better of us in the Europa League last year of course. This year, I definitely don’t think a win for PSV is outside the realm of possibility, and there’s a decent chance it’ll end in a draw. Nevertheless, I’ll go for a high-scoring Arsenal victory: 3-2. You guys should be able to comfortably take first place in the group if you play anything like you can, but I honestly believe PSV will finish second. Things are looking up for us, so I think some cautious optimism is warranted on our end. Enjoy the game, everyone! Should be a good one.