PSV travelled to face Leicester in the first leg of their Europa Conference League quarter-final tie. Both teams led by modern attacking managers meant this match lended itself to goals, however, that unfortunately did not transpire as the game finished nil nil. That being said, there was plenty of talent on the field to make it an enjoyable watch and there were big chances, particularly early on, for both sides to grab goals.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, re-watch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: English/Nigerian
- Age: 20
- Date of birth: 10/03/2002
- Current club: PSV Eindhoven
- Career: Tottenham Hotspur (Y), PSV Eindhoven
- Position: Right Winger
- Secondary position: Striker
- Preferred foot: Left
“Noni”, as he calls himself, was a huge part of PSV’s bright start to this match. The 20-year-old embodies many of the aspects associated with a modern winger. He has great speed, is comfortable going on either side of his opponent and is diligent with his pressing and tracking back.
The U21 capped Englishman is a great prospect and tailor-made for teams who look to counter attack as a primary means of offence. He has huge long strides which helps him be such a great ball carrier in these transition situations. Furthermore, in this match, he consistently made the correct passing decision rather than having a shot from a less favourable position himself when counter attacking. The only criticism you could have of him here is that sometimes this pass lacked the pace necessary to continue the momentum of the attack.
From deep, Madueke continues to back his dribbling ability to get him and his teammates out of trouble. If the ball stuck to your feet like it does his, you probably would too. He makes good use of tempo and will slow down to draw an opponent in before accelerating beyond them. He is very brave with this and it, at times, leads to him looking like he is about to lose control of the ball. While being able to draw the defender in so much is commendable, he should be aware not to become overconfident in this regard which would lead to him losing the ball more often and becoming a less reliable outlet.
The young forward has a strong mentality and never seemed agitated when he lost the ball. As a result of this he remained confident when next in possession and believed he would beat the opponent with either a pass or a dribble despite his previous error.
Being left-footed and playing on the right means he has a natural tendency to drift in and be more of a goal threat although he is comfortable bypassing his opponent on either side. While being left-footed, Madueke was not averse to using his right foot if it meant he could keep the ball on the opposite side to his opponent. This allowed him to use his physical frame to protect the ball while he continued forward.
One thing I believe Madueuke could improve upon which would take his game to the next level is his movement in the opposition box. He is obviously very gifted both technically and physically and players who have come through youth age groups with a similar profile don’t always have the knowledge to know how to give themself the most amount of room they can. At least they don’t use it as they have always relied on their other qualities. Madueke would benefit from being more patient before drifting in centrally while his team attack on the left-hand side. This means he can be more effective when he does enter the box as it makes him harder to mark. Another positive of this is that if the attack does not enter the box, Madueke is in a good position to keep the width for his team to stretch the pitch.
Rating – A1
Chukwunonso Madueke is a really exciting prospect and definitely one to watch over the upcoming seasons. He may find his future England international career limited due to the embarrassment of riches they have at their disposal but this should not diminish his reputation as a great young player. He put on a strong display in this match despite PSV not scoring and there is little doubt for me off the back of that performance that he is destined to play in one of the big 5 leagues. I believe he would particularly excel in the Bundesliga or a club such as West Ham that relies on their wingers heavily in attacking transitions.
- Nationality: French
- Age: 24
- Date of birth: 18/11/1997
- Current club: PSV Eindhoven
- Career: Nice, Nimes (Loan), PSV Eindhoven
- Position: Centre Back
- Secondary position: Left Back
- Preferred foot: Left
Olivier Boscagli played as a left centre back during this match. A position he has become more accustomed to after coming through at left back as a youngster for Nice. The 24-year-old is very comfortable on the ball and, irrelevant of the pressure he was under from Leicester’s forward press, always looked calm and composed. Boscagli never attempted to dribble past any of Leicester’s forward players, instead, looked for a pass to a teammate who was better able to lead the team forward.
This is easier of course when you have the technical grounding that he clearly does. He is left-footed but there does not appear to be any great drop off when he uses his right. Furthermore, he has no fear when playing challenging passes with his right foot unlike many players who go to great lengths to avoid using their weak foot at all. Due to the fact he does not have to worry about getting the ball onto his favoured foot, he allows himself more time to pick out a pass. Whether that is short, long or even cross-field it does not appear to matter to him.
This performance included him displaying his passing range by attempting to play over the top of the press on several occasions. While this was not always successful, each long pass he hit was accurate and only failed when the opposition’s defenders had read the game well to intercept.
Talking of reading the game, Boscagli is excellent at this. He is not tall, certainly not for a defender anyway, and he lacks the initial acceleration many of his opponents will have so it is vital for him he is as good as he is at this.
Out of possession, he is an aggressive proactive defender and his in-game intelligence allows him to be such. He sniffs out danger quickly and intercepted several, potentially dangerous, attacks from Leicester early due to his vision.
In build-up, he makes sure he is always available for his teammates to pass to and often dropped both deep and wide to make the angles easier for his teammates. This positioning also meant he was ready if PSV were to lose the ball, to defend a quick counter attack.
While there is only so much you can pick up on regarding a player’s intangible qualities by watching on a screen, the defender certainly appears to be a real leader for his side. As Ancellotti would say, he appears to be a “technical leader”. In his book, Quiet Leadership, he defined this as someone who led by example and by being excellent at what they do. Rather than shouting and instructing players around him. This is certainly how Olivier came across during this match. He was always in the right position, he knew exactly what his job was in every situation and I am sure his calming presence had an influence on his teammates allowing them to perform well and get a good result away from home in Europe.
Rating – A2
I deliberated for a while over what rating to give Olivier Boscagli and decided on A2 rather than A1. It was tight, however, what swung it was the fact: he did not show his dribbling ability (whether that be positive or negative) in this match; his lack of acceleration over the first couple of yards; and that he is that little bit older at 24. That being said, this was a very good performance from the Frenchman. He appears to be a very reliable and consistent player. I mean this as a compliment as this consistency at making good, sensible decisions on the ball while also being a safety net for his teammates at the back will give them confidence and allow them to focus solely on their own jobs making the team as a whole better.