Manuel Veth –
Futbolgrad’s European Football Roundup is coming from Munich’s Allianz Arena this week, as we take a closer look at Oleksandr Zinchenko. Zinchenko continues to struggle to find his way in PSV Eindhoven’s starting line-up. The young Ukrainian national team player was bought by Manchester City this summer, but immediately loaned out to the Dutch club PSV Eindhoven to gain much needed playing time.
Zinchenko, however, has only featured in three matches since joining PSV. On October 1 he played 35 minutes in a 1-1 tie against SC Heerenveen, and then on October 15 he came off the bench again, this time he played 19 minutes in 1-1 tie against Heracles.
Futbolgrad was in the Allianz Arena on Wednesday when FC Bayern München hosted PSV Eindhoven on matchday three of the UEFA Champions League group stage. But Zinchenko was absent from Phillip Cocu’s starting line-up against Bayern.
Instead Zinchenko came on in the 85th minute. Moments before Arjen Robben had scored Bayern’s fourth goal to make it 4-1 for the Germans. Perhaps not the most memorable Champions League debut for the young Ukrainian.
FULL TIME #fcbpsv
1-0 Müller (13)
2-0 Kimmich (21)
2-1 Narsingh (40)
3-1 Lewandowski (59)
4-1 Robben (84) pic.twitter.com/Fy5t1D6zEZ
— PSV International (@psveindhoven) October 19, 2016
Cocu, however, has good reasons to wait when it comes to integrating the quick Ukrainian, who can play both on the wing, and also in central midfield into PSV’s line-up. After two consecutive Dutch Eredivisie titles, PSV Eindhoven has struggled this season.
PSV are only fourth after matchday nine of the Eredivisie, and are already nine points off league leaders Feyenoord. Things are not much better in the Champions League, as PSV are third with one point out of three matches so far.
Cocu is therefore currently struggling to establish a starting eleven that can salvage PSV’s season both in the Eredivisie, and in the Champions League.
But perhaps long-term Zinchenko could be just the player to steady the ship. Cocu usually prefers using a 4-3-3 formation, but against Bayern he chose the more defensive 4-2-3-1 formation with Luciano Narsingh on the left wing, and Gaston Pereiro on the right wing.
Zinchenko could be utilized in that formation by playing on the right wing where Pereiro in particular remained ineffective in Munich. Another option would be to have Zinchenko included either on the wing or in a three men midfield in Cocu’s preferred 4-3-3 formation.
Regardless the night in Munich highlighted that PSV Eindhoven are still very much looking for a perfect starting formation this season. Zinchenko certainly has the technical ability, and the speed to make a team better. But the question is whether the 19-year-old Ukrainian would benefit from being included in a squad that is still looking for an identity this season.
European Football Roundup – Talking points
- Rostov continue to look for their first victory in the UEFA Champions League. But their performance against Atlético Madrid on matchday three was certainly encouraging. The Rostov’s 0-1 defeat was a closed fought affair, and the La Liga club was on the brink of losing its first points in the Champions League this season.
- Dynamo Kyiv continue to look for their first win, as they were defeated 0-2 by Benfica on matchday three. This is the second home defeat in the group stage, which means that Serhiy Rebrov’s future at Dynamo Kyiv remains in jeopardy. Futbolgrad’s Vadim Furmanov has covered Rebrov’s problems at Dynamo extensively here.
- In the Europa League FC Schalke 04’s Ukrainian star Yevhen Konoplyanka has scored his first goal for his new club. Schalke travelled to Russia where FC Krasnodar entertained them. It was the first club game at the new Krasnodar Stadium—the Russian national team officially opened the stadium against Costa Rica on October 9.
— FC Schalke 04 (@s04_en) October 20, 2016
- Shakhtar Donetsk continue their winning ways, defeating KAA Gent in Lviv 5-0. The Ukrainian sports portal Tribuna reported on Thursday night the match was probably Shakhtar’s best performance since Paulo Fonseca took over as the new manager of the club in the summer of 2016. Shakhtar have now won their first three matches, and now appear a lock for the round of 32 of the Europa League.
- Finally, Zenit Saint Petersburg have also completed their third win in the group stage of the UEFA Europa League. Zenit visited the Irish champion Dundalk FC, and Zenit won the match 2-1. Dundalk took the lead in the 52nd minute, but Róbert Mak equalized in the 71st minute, and Giuliano, who continues his stellar form (more on him here), scored the winner in the 77th
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and a writer for Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States”, which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @homosovieticus.