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The first part of the season in review

Logo https://scrollytelling.psv.nl/the-first-part-of-the-season-in-review

PSV enjoyed success in the first part of the season. Head coach Phillip Cocu and his side have taken a five-point lead over nearest rivals Ajax at the start of the winter break. A preview of the highs and lows of the first part of the season.

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PSV flew out to Verbier in Switzerland on 10 July to prepare for the new season during a nine-day training camp. The Mexican stars Guardado and Moreno had left PSV while Hirving Lozano was still enjoying a well-deserved holiday. New signing Derrick Luckassen joined his new team mates for pre-season training. PSV beat FC Sion, settled for a draw with AS Monaco and suffered defeat against Grasshoppers.

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PSV took on NK Osijek from Croatia in the third qualifying round of the Europa League. They dominated the first leg in the Philip Stadion but crashed to a 1-0 defeat and could not make amends in the return leg. They suffered another 1-0 defeat and were knocked out of the tournament, to the dismay of players, coaching staff and supporters.

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PSV returned to winning ways in the opening games of the new Eredivisie season. They recorded a 3-2 victory against AZ in the Philips Stadion before cruising to wins over NAC Breda and Roda JC Kerkrade. Lozano scored at least one goal in those three games and was the first player after Dries Mertens to have netted three goals in his first three Eredivisie games.

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PSV suffered a shock defeat at sc Heerenveen. The Frisians burst out of the blocks and scored two goals within the opening five minutes. Things went from bad to worse when Lozano was given his marching order before the break for a clumsy challenge on Dumfries. Ten-man PSV could not stage a comeback and pressure was piling upon Cocu and his men ahead of the clash with leaders Feyenoord.

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But PSV did not feel pressure at all when Gaston Pereiro handed his side an early lead, after just two minutes’ play. The Philips Stadium erupted but Feyenoord, reduced to ten men, dominated second half proceedings. PSV held on to earn a hard-fought win and move to the top of the table, alongside Feyenoord.

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Yet PSV had not silenced all critics yet, ahead of the clash at FC Utrecht. The first half was an open game, with end-to-end stuff. PSV were more clinical and took a 2-1 lead at half-time. After the break, Locadia in particular was ruthless in front of goal. The striker netted three more goals as PSV hammered FC Utrecht 7-1 to move to the top of the Dutch table.

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PSV moved five points clear over Ajax at the top of the Eredivisie , following emphatic wins over Willem II, VVV-Venlo and Heracles Almelo. And Phillip Cocu’s side enjoyed the best start of the campaign of this century when they also saw off third-placed Vitesse.

They put on a fine display to earn a 4-2 win in ‘their best game of the season’, according to Cocu. Strike partners Lozano and Locadia, referred to as ‘Lolo’, scored all four goals. PSV had 27 points in ten games.

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PSV played host to FC Twente on Sunday 5 November. A win would see then earn thirty points in eleven games, their best start ever since the 1987-88 season. PSV took the lead three times but the visitors came from behind as many times. FC Twente defender Thesker scored an own goal deep into added time for PSV to win the seven-goal thriller.

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PSV faced a tough test on their visit to surprise package PEC Zwolle, sitting third in the table. PSV appeared to be heading for a goalless draw when Isimat helped his side to a narrow 1-0 victory, thanks to a 93rd minute strike. One goal also separated PSV from Excelsior and Sparta Rotterdam. PSV had taken a ten-point lead at the top of table when they starting preparing for the big game at competitors Ajax.

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While snow caused chaos across the Netherlands and many PSV fans consequently never made it to the Amsterdam Arena, the match could be played under a closed roof. It was still 0-0 at half-time but PSV conceded three goals in the second half. Three days later, PSV dropped two more valuable points when they were held to a 3-3 draw by FC Groningen.

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PSV responded immediately with wins over ADO Den Haag, VVV-Venlo (in a KNVB Cup tie) and Vitesse. Cocu was smiling brightly: “Time to have a break and enjoy a brief holiday with a good feeling.”

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