The Eredivisie continues, with Twente defeating Groningen at home by 3-1 in the latest round of fixtures. In a competitive match, the home team didn’t face too much trouble to end with the win keeping their unbeaten start to the campaign. Groningen faced its second loss this season.

In this tactical analysis, we’ll see how Twente pressured the opponent’s defence, forcing their errors to convert into goals. By looking at the tactics we’ll point out that Groningen tried to quickly build attacking but were ineffective without the former Bayern Munchen player Arjen Robben.

Lineups and formations

Eredivisie 20/21: Twente vs Groningen - tactical analysis tactics

The manager Ron Jans from Twente kept his team in a 4-2-3-1 formation that varies to 4-3-3 when attacking, exploring the wingers Queensy Menig and Václav Černý to pressure the opponent’s defence along with the midfielders Godfried Roemeratoe and Jesse Bosch.

Groningen didn’t change much as well and the manager Danny Buijs is still testing a player to play Robben was supposed to be. In its 4-2-3-1 formation, Ahmed El Messaoudi had the chance in this match on the right side. Exploring especially the left side, Mohamed El Hankouri tried to be dangerous but wasn’t successful.

Building the victory

Even though Twente were playing at home, they weren’t ashamed of giving the ball to Groningen. Most of the match, especially in the first half, Twente was only pressuring harder on Groningen’s defence. They ended the match with 36% of ball possession and only 287 passes, with a pass accuracy of 77%.

This strategy gave result earlier in the match. In the first 20 minutes, Groningen were trying to build the offensive transition from the back but kept losing the ball dangerously in their defensive third. In the image below wee see Twente’s players ahead in the pitch closing the path for Groningen advance.

Eredivisie 20/21: Twente vs Groningen - tactical analysis tactics

The goalkeeper forced a short pass to El Messaoudi, but he lost the ball and Twente managed to score. However, VAR caught  Černý offside, ruling out the goal

Twente was so committed to pressure the opponent’s defence that in the image below we see more players blocking the goalkeeper’s pass than Groningen’s players to help the offensive transition.

Eredivisie 20/21: Twente vs Groningen - tactical analysis tactics

Groningen kept their tactics of building the offensive transition with the ball in the ground and the players approaching for triangulations. It was 154 forward passes with 72 being on the final third and 71% accuracy. The midfielders Daniël van Kaam and Azor Matusiwa were intense. van Kaam made 77% accurate passes in the final third while Matusiwa 100% of forwarding passes accuracy.

In the image below we can see how Groningen was trying to find the way out of Twente’s blocking by approaching and passing quickly. Eventually, they found space to create a scoring opportunity.

Eredivisie 20/21: Twente vs Groningen - tactical analysis tactics

But after taking a chance in a counter-attack and opening the score, Twente secured their winning goal by pressuring the defence. In the 36th minute, forcing the opponent’s goalkeeper to pass under pressure, the loose ball ended up with Twente’s attack inside the penalty area.

Eredivisie 20/21: Twente vs Groningen - tactical analysis tactics

In the image above we can see there were six players of Twente in the attacking zone forcing the opponent’s flaws. Wout Brama was occupying the free space in the middle exactly where the ball went, but none of Groningen’s midfielders were there.

Despite the fact that Twente did not have the ball most of the time, the chart below shows how the team was able to take seven shots on target. All of them from inside the penalty area with a 1.61 xG. No wonder why Twente ended up with the win.

Eredivisie 20/21: Twente vs Groningen - tactical analysis tactics

Long inversions

The earlier goal in the second half made Groningen advance their lines and have more ball possession trying to level the match. Twente was satisfied with the result and their strategy was to go out for the counter-attack, with less pressure in the attack zone.

Twente adopted a medium position in the pitch in the second half, which became more intense when Groningen reached their spaces. There were eight interceptions and 11 clearances in the second half. To try to break the lines Groningen modified their strategy a little bit. The young Remco Balk entered the team to give more deep options and Groningen changed to a 3-2-3-2 formation.

With this variation, the team starts to give long ball inversions trying to find open spaces on the opposite side. In the image below we see Twente’s team mounted in their starting position while Groningen’s already using his new tactics.

Eredivisie 20/21: Twente vs Groningen - tactical analysis tactics

In the end, it wasn’t effective because Twente’s defence was very solid, which guaranteed the win. There was also still time for them to score another goal from a corner after a successful counter-attack.


We can see Twente have had a good start with seven points with two wins at home. In this match analysis, we noticed the team advanced in the pitch with a high line of pressure. They were not afraid of using the quick recovery to build their most dangerous attacks, and they easily defeated their opponents.

Groningen struggle with major flaws in their own defensive third, giving easy goals to their opponents. This tactical analysis showed the team’s dependency on the variation to build attacks. Without the former Real Madrid star Robben, nothing they did when attacking was very effective.

Twente play at home next week and has another chance of keeping the good momentum in the top of the Eredivisie. Meanwhile, Groningen will face Ajax, and will try to recover as fast as they can. Both managers have a lot of hard work to do.