The first 10 minutes of the match was promising for RKC by pressuring and making one shoot on the woodwork. But PSV needed only the next 10 minutes to score twice and secure the win by 4-1 at the end.
In this tactical analysis, we’ll see how PSV took advantage of the defensive flaws of the opponent and the strategy to control the match was enough. We’ll see how RKC had the ball and possession but the lack of quality was determinant to the loss.
RKC’s manager Fred Grim wasn’t afraid to attack PSV and put its best squad in the pitch. Vurnon Anita, Richard van der Venne and Anas Tahiri in the middle were responsible for conducting the team forward. Ahmed Touba and Melle Meulensteen in the defence had trouble to contain PSV attack all by themselves.
Roger Schmidt, PSV’s manager, also chose his best players to this match. Mohamed Ihattaren, former Bundesliga Mario Götze, Donyell Malen and Codi Gakpo were the advanced players. Pablo Rosario and former Ligue 1 player Ibrahim Sangaré in charge of protecting the middle to allow the attacking of the fullbacks, Philippe Max and Denzel Dumfries.
RKC adopted a liberal strategy to face PSV at home. With a 4-1-2-3 formation, the team was pressuring PSV in their defensive zone. Besides the team was also trying to keep the ball possession and build its offensive transition with the ball on the ground.
Especially with Tahiri in the middle always looking to pass the ball to the wingers to get them to confront the opponent’s defender alone. The image below shows Cyril Ngonge receiving the ball wide on the right side and ended up the play giving a shot on goal after dribbling the opponent.
The image also shows the superiority of RKC players reaching inside the area. PSV defence was running behind very exposed.
Another characteristic of RKC’s tactics was the team advanced with its lines to surprise PSV defence in their own defensive third. PSV was having trouble to find the pass between the lines but there was enough space to proceed. The image below shows RKC’s players advancing and closing the line of the pass but giving enough room in the middle.
We the difficulty with the offensive transition, Gotze run back several times to be the first pass option from the defenders. With patience and rolling the ball to the sides PSV managed to find the way out.
With the lines up high it didn’t take long to PSV find the way between the lines and score two goals before the minute 25. The first goal PSV retrieves the ball in the final third and gets four players against two defenders of RKC. The image below shows Götze finding the assistance to Gakpo conclude on goal.
RKC can’t be blamed for trying to face PSV as an equal team. In the first half was 51% of ball possession, 11 shots on goal being three on target from inside the box. They exchanged 244 passes and Tahiri and Finn Stokkers missed two big chances of scoring.
But the lack of quality in the defensive transition was fatal to the team. The strategy to pressure the opponent cause several times that two or three players closed the space in the same opponent. The image below shows the corridor that Dumfries had to advance to the penalty box and suffered the foul that originated the third goal.
We can see in the image that not only Dumfries had the corridor but Noni Madueke was also an option to attack. RKC’s defence failed to read the movement and was not synchronized to prevent the space behind their backs.
Playing at a low level, PSV did not have to force to be dominant. The second half the team controlled the match with the ball possession. It was 62% and seven shots on target. The entrance of Madueke and Joel Piroe gave more intensity to the team. Also the dynamism of the middle increase and was able to exchange passes with more speed.
Ihattaren and Götze were the key players of the match participating in every offensive construction. Their intensity can be seen in the heatmap image below.
Both players combined gave three key passes, one assist, three shots on target and Ihattaren scored a beautiful goal from a shot outside the box. With Dumfries being an option in the right-wing, Götze was constantly in the left side triangulating and creating spaces.
The image below shows one of the recurring movements of the match. Götze picking up the ball in the left side, getting rid of the defenders and finding Ihattaren free in the middle.
Another player that shows the dominance of PSV is Dumfries. The right-back was positioned most of the time in the right-wing with constantly reaching the penalty box. The player gave two shots on goal, missed a big chance and score the penalty kick on the third goal.
The movement of PSV’s players in the pitch, varying their positions, are always creating spaces. But also demand hard work from the manager to fix little mistakes in the defensive transition. The image below shows the defence line out of place and Jordan Teze letting the opponent’s striker onside.
With Olivier Boscagli not looking back, RKC”s striker received the ball inside the area with no one to stop him.
PSV continues to run behind the Eredivisie leader Ajax and the win brought them closer. The tactics adopted by the manager Roger Schmidt are giving results and the midfield dynamism is being crucial to the good moment of the attack. Although the defence is still struggling and gave another goal to the opponent. Work needed to be done as we saw in this analysis.
RKC is dreaming of continuing in the Eredivisie. The strategy of confronting the opponent with an open field and attacking with the ball in the ground is giving results against the medium teams of the league, but against PSV was too much. The team was not efficient and the outcome could not have been different.