When the Europa League draw was made and Arsenal drew Zurich, PSV and Bodo/Glimt in the first group stage, it was considered immediately that the Dutch giants PSV would be our most dangerous opponent to stop us topping the Group. In the past it didn’t really matter much if you came 1st or 2nd, but this year you miss a play-off round in the new year if you finish top.
While our second string were beating Zurich on Thursday, PSV and Bodo played out a 1-1 draw, which will mean a win over PSV would give us a great start. So how are the Dutch side performing at the moment?
In Europe they started in the Champions League Qualifying rounds, and after scraping through against Monaco in extra time in the second leg, they then drew Glasgow Rangers. PSV managed a 1-1 draw at Ibrox, but surprisingly lost 1-0 in Holland, and so dropped to the Europa Group and Rangers went to the Champions League Group Stages for the first time in many a year. After losing 4-0 to Ajax in their first game in the ECL, they are likely to finish bottom of the Group that includes Napoli and Real Madrid.
In the Eredivisie, PSV are lying in 4th after 5 games, having beaten 4 minnows before losing away to FC Twente last week, which is hardly awe-inspiring.
Having won the Champions League in 1987–88, PSV also won the 1977–78 UEFA Cup, but there most recent European success was the semi-final in the 2004–05 Champions League, so they have been bereft on European glory for some time now.
It seems unlikely that they can beat Arsenal to top this group, but they may give a good game against our reserves if we are not in great form. It will be interesting to see how Cody Gakpo gets on against us after our myriad links with the striker over the summer..
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