The Feyenoorders are all fired up to secure a good result against the league leaders Tuesday. Apart from the obvious, the main reason appears to be the last meeting between the clubs. PSV won that match 2-1, but luck was certainly with them on that occasion. ‘We didn’t deserved anything there first half,’ admits Koeman. ‘But we had every right to an equaliser in the second half. We got one too, but it was ruled out. We have preserved some sense of revenge. Everyone knows it won’t be easy. PSV have the best team by far. They are well put together and they exude class and routine. Even so, we’ll be doing all we can to make things hot for them.’
Feyenoord certainly have a chance, the coach was quick to stress. Koeman uttered similar words ahead of November’s encounter with AZ at De Kuip. Despite an overfull treatment room the Rotterdammers won that match, largely due to passion, which is something they’ll need again on Boxing Day. The signs are certainly good on that score – grit and determination are two of Feyenoord’s biggest qualities at the moment. Saturday’s home win in the Rotterdam derby proved that.
Erwin Koeman welcomes two first choice players back into his squad against a side that has progressed to the last 16 of this season’s Champions League. Royston Drenthe and Danny Buijs both return after suspension. Dwight Tiendalli made his come back against Sparta. The right back is fully recovered from a groin strain, which he showed by finishing the match without any adverse reaction. The only question mark is alongside Serginho Greene’s name. The defender was troubled by his knee in the derby and was unable to say whether he would be fit for PSV.
Under Ronald Koeman, PSV are well on their way to claiming their twentieth league title. With just over half the fixture list complete the Eindhoven side are nine points clear of AZ with a vastly superior goal difference. PSV showed their superiority in the meetings with their nearest rivals too, with away wins in Alkmaar and Amsterdam. Louis van Gaal and Henk ten Cate both blamed bad luck against the champions but that appeared to be nothing but sour grapes bearing in mind that PSV have repeated the trick in the Champions League too. Qualification for the final sixteen was secured by day four of the group phase, which made defeats at Liverpool and Girondins de Bordeaux in the last two pool matches nothing but formalities.
A last sixteen tie against Arsenal awaits, but even defeat against the Gooners would not take the shine off the season in Eindhoven. The club has clearly improved since last year, which is remarkable considering the loss of Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink to Celtic and André Ooijer to Blackburn Rovers. The transfer rumours clearly affected PSV’s preseason preparations, but Koeman and his staff never allowed them to have an impact where it really matters – in competitive matches.
New arrivals Carlos Salcido, Edison Méndez and Jan Kromkamp quickly found their feet, Gomes, Alex, Timmy Simons and Jefferson Farfán retained their good form and the irrepressible Arouna Koné found is scoring boots. He’s got nine in the league already. Striker partner Farfan has eleven. Phillip Cocu continues to run midfield and his experience is proving invaluable in the development of youngsters Ibrahim Affelay and Ismail Aissati.
PSV arrive in De Kuip Tuesday as nailed-on favourites then, but football would not be the fascinating game it is if every match always went to form.
Feyenoord – PSV
Tuesday 26 December, 12:30 at De Kuip
Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli, Vlaar, Bahia, Drenthe; Lucius, Buijs, De Guzman; Kolkka, Charisteas, Huysegems
PSV: Gomes; Kromkamp, Reiziger, Alex, Salcido; Afellay, Méndez, Simons, Cocu; Koné, Farfan
LAST TEN LEAGUE MEETINGS
11/12/2005 Feyenoord - PSV 1-0
12/12/2004 Feyenoord - PSV 3-3
21/9/2003 Feyenoord - PSV 1-3
18/5/2003 Feyenoord - PSV 3-1
16/12/2001 Feyenoord - PSV 0-0
17/9/2006 PSV - Feyenoord 2-1
12/4/2006 PSV - Feyenoord 1-1
15/5/2005 PSV - Feyenoord 4-2
14/3/2004 PSV - Feyenoord 0-1
17/11/2002 PSV - Feyenoord 1-2