Today’s free tip is in the UEFA Europa League encounter between Omonia Nicosia and PSV Eindhoven in Cyprus.
PSV Eindhoven are without a lot of players here, and I have a lot of respect for the team they’re up against. Berg has done a sterling job with the Cypriots, and they made life very uncomfortable over two legs against a superior Olympiakos Piraeus in the UEFA Champions League after also frustrating the hell out of Serbian juggernauts Red Star Belgrade. I would be absolutely astounded if PSV Eindhoven found this to be an easy fixture, even if they had a full-strength squad.
I’m sorry to repeat myself, but Dutch football simply isn’t very impressive right now. Their teams generally look quite lost in Europe unless allowed to participate in open games, and it’s been that way for years now. Dinamo Zagreb did not struggle to contain Feyenoord Rotterdam. Liverpool – without van Dijk and Alisson – contained AFC Ajax Amsterdam. Dinamo Kiev did not struggle to handle AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Champions League. The list goes on, and on. Dutch football has simply become very predictable. It’s fast, and the players are committed, but there’s not a great deal of skill in place, nor is there ever a “Plan B”, it seems.
Subsequently, PSV Eindhoven lining up against what I personally class a superior tactical outfit like Omonia Nicosia makes the odds on the away win look very short, enough so for me to consider backing the home team not to lose on the night. All that stopped me was their lack of consistency in front of goal. See, PSV Eindhoven can fashion a goal here because they’ve got enough individuals that can do it, and if that happens, I don’t think the home team will get anything here. That’s why I avoided the 1×2 market. PSV Eindhoven seldom convince me with their actual displays though, so the away win remains priced way too short for my liking.
The Dutch favourites are without numerous players for the trip to Cyprus too. I mean, they’ve only taken four defenders with them – Boscagli, Teze, Max, and Felipe. Gutierrez, van Ginkel, and Rosario in midfield remain out, and attackers Gakpo and Romero are out too. Now, Zahavi, Malen, Gotze, and Ihatteren can do enough to scrape a goal here so again, I’m not backing the home team to avoid defeat. To say that I don’t fancy PSV Eindhoven’s chances would be a big understatement though. They’re up against a team that is remarkably disciplined tactically, and one that is not fazed by lining up against good teams. I can see this being a long night for what is essentially a very predictable PSV Eindhoven side.
As much as Berg’s boys lack firepower, they genuinely don’t lack in any other area. They’re patient, composed, good on the ball, and well-organised. With experienced heads like Lecjaks and Hubocan at the back, they’re prepared for most things that are thrown at them, as they amply demonstrated at PAOK Salonika last week. Don’t be fooled by their age in midfield, either – they’re all remarkably fit, even wild Bautheac out wide. They let the ball do the work, and focus on their movement instead. With Asante and Sene, they’re not short of legs in the final third either. It’s just finishing that is their bugbear, and unfortunately for them, that’s a pretty big problem to have.
I can see them really annoying PSV Eindhoven tonight though, whichever way the game goes. Therefore, I’ve got to back under 2.5 goals at evens, and pray that none of the PSV Eindhoven defenders get injured!
Verdict: Under 2.5 goals at evens.