PSV booked their first win in 2021. In a snowy Rotterdam, the people of Eindhoven were barely 3-5 too strong for Sparta, so they could watch a bit calmly what rivals Ajax and Feyenoord will do. against each other in the classic Sunday afternoon. What 4 other things stood out?
1. Invoke problems about yourself
After a few minutes, there was nothing wrong. Philipp Max had just put PSV at 1-4 and that was the decision, it was believed. But Sparta did not give up. PSV have had issues with a ‘play to death’ or ‘kill’ game before, and it happened on Saturday night. Sparta came back to 2-4, PSV had a chance via Malen at 2-5, but in the end the tension was completely reduced when Sparta came to 3-4 via a penalty. In the end, it was Malen who brought PSV to a safe haven by recording 3-5 in added time. But worryingly, Schmidt’s team is still working on such issues.
2. The search for depth is the solution
PSV fell behind very early on and struggled to master the game. It wasn’t until the equalizer that the people of Eindhoven seemed to understand the best way to fight Sparta.
Because space was mostly in the depths, behind the defense of Sparta. It has been difficult for PSV to develop. The team particularly missed a striker who could hold a ball and it was certainly not easy to play football on a smooth, snowy artificial turf surface. That’s why it was good for Schmidt’s team to be able to play a lot in depth with, among others, Noni Madueke. No wonder for a number of goals a ball deep behind Sparta’s defense was the basis, as that was where the space was.
3. Schmidt vs. Nijhuis
PSV coach Schmidt and referee Bas Nijhuis are two people who will not simply become friends. After Vitesse-PSV, the two gentlemen had already had a discussion about a penalty moment, and Schmidt was often heard loudly on Saturday night when Nijhuis did not whistle for a foul – in Schmidt’s eyes -. Nijhuis’ flute style is well known: he really likes to let go. And this often clashes with Schmidt, who wants to protect his players. In the first half, Nijhuis had already finished commenting on the coach’s lead, as he had already given Schmidt a yellow card.
4. White or orange ball?
The viewer at home must have watched for a few moments with narrowed eyes during the first half. Despite the snow on the Rotterdam artificial turf pitch, a white ball was chosen for the first 45 minutes. And this white ball was barely visible on the white field.
After the break, the choice was made for the ball that always comes out of the closet when there is snow on the ground: orange. Above all, pleasant for the spectator at home, but PSV also didn’t like this orange ball badly, because in four minutes the Eindhoven team managed to score twice and the game was already decided.