How van Nistelrooy has Started at PSV

James Budgen

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How van Nistelrooy has Started at PSV

After four years without a league title, PSV have entrusted their former striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy, best known for his times for Manchester United and Real Madrid, to take back the title from Ajax.

Van Nistelrooy has risen through the ranks as a coach at PSV, progressing from coaching the under-17s for three seasons, the under-19s for one season to now taking charge of the first team as his first senior managerial role.

The 46-year-old is joining PSV at a time where Ajax have won three straight Eredivisie titles, but last season under Roger Schmidt, they took Erik ten Hag’s Ajax all the way and in the end only finished two points behind the side from Amsterdam, which puts some expectation for Van Nistelrooy to exceed, especially with the little change in the squad in the summer transfer window compared to Ajax.

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PSV in Big Matches

Van Nistelrooy got off to a great start, beating Ajax in the Johan Cruyff Trophy 5-3 and beating AS Monaco in the first round of the Champions League qualification, but in the next round, he took his first loss as manager, beaten by Rangers in the second leg, failing to qualify for the Champions League group stage and thus falling to the Europa League.

In the league, PSV have been very impressive going forward, scoring 35 goals in their ten games so far, the most in the league, scoring four or more goals in a game seven times, and at the current rate of scoring, they would score 119 goals in the league this season, compared to scoring 86 last season.

The problem that might hurt PSV come the end of the season, like last season, is their defence. Last season they conceded 42 goals in the league, an average of 1.2 per game, compared to Ajax conceding only 19, an average of 0.55 per game.

This season Ajax are conceding more goals, letting in 9 goals in ten games, an average of 0.9 per game, but PSV are also letting in more, conceding 14 league goals so far, an average of 1.4 per game.

The Talent at van Nistelrooy’s Disposal

Van Nistelrooy has some great players at his disposal, both young and experienced, with a lot scouted by big European clubs, with none more than Cody Gakpo, who at 23 years old has been by far the best player in Holland this season.

Last season Gakpo’s performances got him rumoured to big clubs like Manchester United, scoring 21 times and assisting 15 in forty-seven games across six competitions, but Van Nistelrooy has taken Gakpo up another level, as in only 18 appearances this season, Gakpo has scored 13 goals and assisting 11 times.

The other young player which has thrived under Van Nistelrooy is Xavi Simons, who has been deployed in a number of positions in the team, both across the front line and in midfield, scoring nine goals and assisting three times in all competitions.

The rotation of Van Nistelrooy’s strikers can show his tactical flexibility as a manager, where he has deployed Xavi Simons as a false nine, Luuk De Jong as a target man or Guus Til as an advanced forward.

So far for PSV, Van Nistelrooy has found mixed success in the big games, beating Ajax in the Johan Cruyff Trophy, beating AS Monaco over two legs, beating Feyenoord 4-3, but also losing to Rangers over two legs and losing to FC Twente.

Van Nistelrooy will definitely be tested over the coming month, facing Arsenal twice in the Europa League, and having back-to-back league games against top-of-the-league Ajax and fourth-placed AZ Alkmaar, making it a very important month in PSV’s European and league campaign, especially against Ajax as it was losing twice against Ajax in the league last year which really cost PSV in the title race.

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