This week’s top clash in the Eredivisie was without a doubt the match between the first and second ranked teams. And PSV – Twente did not disappoint at all. Both teams played a very open match and the high amount of midfield pressing in the first half did the game a lot of good. Not for the first time this season Twente converted a 0-0 half-time score into a win.
PSV’s attacking 4-2-3-1 variant
PSV set out in their familiar 4-2-3-1 system with Jonathan Reis now seemingly their first choice striker. Marcus Berg’s suspension may be over, his absence paved the way for Reis to stake his claim for first team football in Eindhoven. The young striker performed excellent over the past few matches, especially offering a good off the ball movement displaying his positional qualities and provided PSV’s much needed direct goal threat.
During their home matches, Toivonen plays a very advanced role close behind the lone striker and either Engelaar or Afellay frequently makes late runs into the box to add to the attack too. With this set-up PSV at times commits five players to their attack, offering a threat that most teams can’t sustain for long. They played a very advanced defensive line, limiting space, adding to the pressure they put on Twente early on.
Twente’s well-organized 4-1-4-1
Twente is also known for playing a 4-2-3-1 system, though in this match their defense was set-up in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Missing holding midfielder Brama meant that Janssen took control of Toivonen and Landzaat effectively played beside de Jong in a more advanced position, exerting early pressure on PSV’s key midfield player, Ibrahim Afellay. Twente succeeded in resisting PSV’s early pressure thanks to the excellent passing ability of Theo Janssen and the ball-retaining qualities of Bryan Ruiz who always provided a way out when under pressure.
The first half
About fifteen minutes into the match, things started settling down a bit. The intense amount of pressing of the opening phase consumed too much energy to be exerted over the full ninety minutes. Twente slowly obtained an equal amount of possession as their opponents. The half-way conclusion was that PSV were countered very well by Twente’s disciplined 4-1-4-1 formation. Particularly Douglas put in an impressive effort at the heart of Twente’s defense, winning loads of defensive headers. And very important on a tactical note was Landzaat’s role to consequently frustrate PSV’s playmaker Afellay.
The second half
No tactical changes or substitutions meant that the same pattern of play carried on in the second half. PSV’s play was effectively frustrated by Twente’s team effort and chances were scarce. Striker Reis found himself hardly involved in the game so far and Afellay suffered from consequently applied marking, making it hard for him to pass the ball around.
Twente got the reward for their disciplined performance with a beautiful opening goal. Chadli scored from a beautiful team move, assisted by Bryan Ruiz, who played a neat game overall. Chadli’s first Eredivisie goal for Twente meant that PSV was forced to attack even more and Twente chose to sit back and defend their narrow lead.
PSV on the attack
Already having started out with five attacking players early on, committing more bodies forward was not to be expected immediately. First direct substitutions were made as Amrabat came on for Lens and Toivonen was subbed of for Berg. In fact this meant the introduction of a second central striker, but Toivonen’s entire game had been played from such an advanced position that the introduction of Berg hardly meant a tactical change at that point in the game.
With some twenty minutes to go PSV started playing a 3-3-4 system by advancing right-back Hutchinson into their midfield and playing Berg and Reis next to each other in a double central striker role. However, both strikers did not live up to expectations and Twente’s defensive block deserves full credit for marking them out of the game.
In the end
PSV tried their best, but were always second best in most positions on the field. Losing their discipline nearing the end of the game, with substitute Vukovic getting a direct red card for a vicious tackle on Ruiz, contrasted sharp with Twente’s well-disciplined performance. So the reigning Eredivisie champions lead the table again, now having a one point advantage on both PSV and Ajax.