Eredivisie Act 3: Self-doubt enter stage left for PSV Eindhoven

PSV Eindhoven – leaders of the Dutch Eredivisie – are gifted a lot of coverage by Spanish-speaking television. Their history of North and South American players has seen the club’s reputation grow outside of Europe. Ronaldo Lima paved the path for South American talents like current right-back Santiago Arias to grow their talents in Eindhoven. Many wonderful Mexican players have played at Philips Stadion as well; Hirving “Chucky” Lozano is the most recent to light up the Eredivisie. On Saturday, it was the Latin American contingent that proved to be PSV’s saving grace and condemning downfall at the same time.

When looking at the PSV schedule for the rest of the season, a home match to SC Heerenveen wasn’t where many fans expected the league leaders to drop points. Arias’ header and Luuk de Jong’s mistake capitalization put the home side up 2-0 to a largely lackluster Heerenveen side, led by the vibrant Martin Ødegaard . However, a hot flash heralded a red card for Lozano late in the first half.

After going up a man, Heerenveen went to work. Veteran leader Stijn Schaars buckled a shot past Jeroen Zoet in the second half. With less than ten minutes to play, Reza Ghoochannejhad was presented with a bounce in front of the goal line and tapped in a goal as deserved for Heerenveen as it was condemning for PSV.

If it were earlier in the season, this result wouldn’t be worrying for Phillip Cocu’s side. With that in mind, the draw comes as we enter the final third of the Eredivisie season. Performances are scrutinized and results are magnified to extreme levels, especially with worldwide coverage reaching the Dutch first division. Ajax won a hard-fought battle in Zwolle against an eroding PEC, meaning the point gap at the top is down to 5 – the closest in what seems like over a month.

Next weekend, PSV Eindhoven visit De Kuip as an inconsistent yet talented Feyenoord look to aid their arch-rivals by condemning PSV to two-straight poor results. No Chucky Lozano means a severely depleted attack for the visiting side. Before the kickoff, the result of Ajax-ADO Den Haag will have been decided. Earlier in the season, Ajax dropped points in The Hague to a sprightly, economical squad.

This is the time of year when the true colors of a champion begin to show. The question is, will those colors be filled with Boeren red and white stripes or Ajacied red and white columns?

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