It was supposed to be an easy win for PSV in their second Eredivisie’s match but ended up in a last-minute victory. The struggle was because Emmen pushed hard in the defence and PSV’s Mvogo made another flaw that almost led the match to a tie.

This tactical analysis will take a further look at how Emmen blocked the right side of PSV’s offence and with the high pressure scored their goal. We will also check stats and match analysis to examine the low intensity of Roger Schmidt’s squad that complicated to secure the victory sooner.

Lineups and formations

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs Emmen - tactical analysis tactics

PSV started their home match with little surprises from their pre-seasons matches. The newly signed goalkeeper Mvogo, Dumfries getting back to the right-back and Jordan Teze fixed as the centre back. In the middle, M. Ihattaren returned to the team while N. Madueke got a chance to start in the right-wing.

With a 4-4-2 formation that varies to 3-4-3 when attacking open wide in the pitch, PSV were less intense and quite obvious to Emmen’s defence. Emmen’s D. Lukien squad started the match in a 4-2-3-1 formation that several moments close the area with a line of five defenders. Using especially M. Chacón and S. Tibbling to close the line in their sides.

Attack on the flank, defend with five

The manager Roger Schmidt positioned PSV in a 3-4-3 attacking formation with P. Rosario aligning with the defenders in the middle. High lines with Dumfries and former Bundesliga defender Max open wide in the pitch supporting the wingers Gakpo and Madueke.

In the image below we see that position in the pitch. Madueke and Gapko are centred but moving to the wing when the ball reached the left or the right-back.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs Emmen - tactical analysis tactics

To prevent players having superiority in the side of the defence, Emmen was closing the area with a line of five defenders. If the ball was in the left flank M. Chacon align with the defenders, if the ball was in the right side then S. Tibbling cover the zone.

Emmen was engaged to the zonal marking leaving no space to PSV enter the area. The image below shows the line of five defenders with M. Chacon covering the right side.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs Emmen - tactical analysis tactics

Emmen’s players were committed to secure the line of five in the defensive zone to prevent PSV to create any quantity superiority, especially in the sides. Not even the goal from PSV changed that movement.

Players triangulations

What was noticed after the first 15 minutes of attacking from PSV was Emmen started to actually play. The team was wanting its players to triangulate. Most of these triangulations were in the middle. S. Peña moves from side to side giving pass option and participating in the offensive transition.

In the image below we see Chacon retrieving the ball with Peña and Tibbling as pass choices. And we also see G. Bijl in the back and N. Laursen ahead forming another triangulations options.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs Emmen - tactical analysis tactics

Clearly, manager Lukien trained the team when having the ball to get close to each other and triangulates. The low intensity on PSV’s zonal marking led to a few spaces opened that Emmen did not take much advantage.

The movement captured in the frame below shows one of the great chance created by the player’s triangulation. Bijl, Laursen and Peña get closer and are on the move all the time. Bijl opens in the right side while Peña runs back a little to receive the ball from Laursen. The winger then runs towards the area bringing the left-back Max with him. Boscali and Bruma engaged on Peña that quickly passes the ball to Bijl running deep in the right side with the free space.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs Emmen - tactical analysis tactics

However Emmen did not was able to triangulate so much in the final third, only 18% of more than three passes were in the attack zone. Emmen were forcing the right-side approach with 21 attacks over there but only 26% danger level. Eventually, it paid off. 

After losing the ball on the midfield in a triangulation attempt, the team kept the advanced marking forcing PSV’s left-back to give a back pass to the goalkeeper. The image below shows right after Emmen loses the ball and P. Max moving to his own goal. The pass is not low and the ball was bouncing, Mvogo could not dominate and the ball ended up in PSV’s net.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs Emmen - tactical analysis tactics

Counterattack to score

It wasn’t expected to see PSV counter-attacking tactics in this match. But Emmen was confident to triangulate and keep the ball possession when the pass error causes the wrong defensive transition.

When former Arsenal man Donyell Malen retrieves the ball in the middle, Dumfries sprinted up the wide free space in the right side of the attacking zone. Malen is a top player and gives a perfect low and long pass ahead. We can see in the image below Emmen’s Tibbling and Clavan in doubt whether to tackle Malen or run back.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs Emmen - tactical analysis tactics

The disorganized defensive transition from Emmen was crucial to PSV find the space to Dumfries work the ball from the right to the left. Gapko then receives and Max is running free towards the area. The frame below captured the blank space in the area where Max can make a perfect cross to finds Madueke to score.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs Emmen - tactical analysis tactics

The goal was also an example of how PSV explored the left flank. Were 28 attacks with 60% danger level and 1.25 xG. Max, Gapko and Thomas were most participating with 39 passes between them. 

The heatmap of the match showed how PSV was more intense in the left while Emmen tried to take advantage in that side.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs Emmen - tactical analysis tactics


PSV almost let it scape the win. Victories at home will be crucial to keep focus try to dethrone Ajax from the Eredivisie’s championship. The manager Roger Schmidt received a new striker, Eran Zahavi, to kept the attack hungry for the goals. Not letting the low intensity pointed in this match analysis be an obstacle is what the manager has to work on.

Emmen proved with its good triangulations, quick pressure and a strong defence that is capable of giving a hard time for the big teams. The manager D. Lukien improved the tactical and showed the path to keep the club in the Eredivisie this season.