FC Barcelona – PSV Eindhoven: Barcelona puts up big score, but shows vulnerabilities (4-0)
PSV Eindhoven occasionally showed their teeth and caused problems when FC Barcelona had to transition from attack to defense. Even though the gap in quality was simply too big to overcome, 4-0 was a harsh result for the Dutch champions.
The Champions League has become a headache for FC Barcelona. The last three seasons they did not manage to get past the quarterfinals. Even though they won LaLiga last year and the Copa del Rey four times in a row, the biggest competition in club football is starting to become elusive. Lionel Messi addressed this in his captain’s speech, stating the team ‘will do everything possible’ to bring the Champions League back to Camp Nou.
The desire to bring back the iconic silver cup was reflected in their starting line-up. Manager Ernesto Valverde fielded his strongest possible eleven in the 4-3-3 he has used all season long. Philippe Coutinho has taken over Andrés Iniesta’s role as playmaker from the left of midfield, while Ousmane Dembélé is now starting as a left-winger.
In the first months of his tenure as PSV’s manager, Mark van Bommel has only used a 4-2-3-1 formation. It’s not hard to see who inspired him: Van Bommel set his first steps in management under the guidance of Bert ‘4-2-3-1’ Van Marwijk. He assisted Van Marwijk – who is also his father in law - at the national teams of Saudi Arabia and Australia, alongside coaching at PSV’s youth academy. PSV had won all of their official matches under Van Bommel, doing so in a style that includes more pressing than PSV was used to with his predecessor Philllip Cocu.
In a Dutch television interview, Van Bommel stated that against . . .