In this tactical analysis, we’ll show how VVV-Venlo adopted a medium-advanced position in the pitch with a compact defence. That strategy made it hard to Feyenoord penetrates in the opponent’s defensive third and we’ll take a look at the statistics of the team lack of attacking productivity.
Lineups and formations
VVV-Venlo adopted a 4-3-1-2 very compact formation that mixed up with a variation to 4-1-3-2 sometimes. Torino Hunte and Guus Hupperts were back and for all the match to attack Feyenoord’s side defence while covering the back when the opponent attack. Georgios Giakoumakis and Jafar Arias were changing position in the attack constantly. We even see the team building the offensive transition in a 3-1-4-2 formation as well.
Feyenoord didn’t change much of its 4-1-4-1 formation that varies to 4-3-3 most of the time. Again we can see Steven Berghuis being the centre of the team with most actions occurring where he is, especially in the right-wing. Tyrell Malacia on the left side, João Teixeira, Orkun Kökçü and Jens Toornstra in the middle were also responsible for most of the dangerous actions of the team.
VVV-Venlo’s defensive strategy
Feyenoord had the ball the entire match. Passing from one side to the another trying to find space in the well compacted VVV’s defence. Even though the team manage to hit the woodwork in the first half, there were no other chances with only two shots on target.
With a medium-advanced line, VVV was able to successfully surprise Feyenoord in their own defensive field. The image below shows how the manager Hans De Koning think of a strong pressure to prevent Feyenoord to reach their side of the pitch.
The first half VVV was able to several times pressured Feyenoord’s defence and that way resisted with a goalless draw. The team made 18 tackles with half of them in the opponent’s defensive third.
When the team was not pressuring high, they compact the lines to prevent Feyenoord to penetrate in the middle, always closing the central spaces. The image below shows the players closing the spaces and making pursuits of the opponent’s players.
Importance of quality players
VVV-Venlo holds the tie for as long as they could, but with flaws in the final part of the match they ended up giving spaces to Feyenoord reach the goal. Feyenoord was having difficulty to enters the area through the middle but when space appears, the quality of the players made the difference.
The image below shows the construction of the third and final goal of the match. VVV was making high pressure but the lack of intensity allowed the space to appear. Toornstra receives the ball free in the middle with an open field to progress.
There were six players of VVV running behind the action with Toornstra clear to think and execute the best play. The ball goes forward, the defence is all messed up and later in the sequence of this offensive transition, Toornstra shows up in the front of the area to conclude scoring his second goal of the day.
The first goal of Feyenoord was at the minute 69 and the third goal was at the minute 77. In less than 10 minutes, with three major flaws in the defensive system, all the good match VVV was doing was throwing away.
The manager Dick Advocaat, former Bundesliga coach, can congratulate his players. Feyenoord is the only invincible team in the top 5 national leagues of Europe so far. And the construction of this moment in the Eredivisie it’s mostly because of Berghuis.
The experienced and former Premier League player is being the key player of the team and most of the attacking actions go by him. The image below shows VVV’s defence mounted and Berghuis with the ball with very little options to progress.
With a defensive system well posted, Berghuis tried several times to force a crossing or an unsuccessful dribble. It was six ball-possession lost in the attacking zone and eight successful dribbles.
But you can’t be surprised with him participating so much in the match that eventually it will come up with decisive action. He gave six shots on goal and three key passes with missing chances in the second half.
The image below shows the action before the decisive second goal scored by him. With little space to progress, he manages to dribble the defender and shot on goal with perfection.
Even when the team is having a solid defence day, little flaws against talented players as Berghuis will be fatal. That’s the case for VVV-Venlo that adopted a good strategy to pressure Feyenoord high in the pitch but that was also their defeat. The manager will have to improve the tactics to try to keep the club in the Eredivisie.
Feyenoord needed only 10 minutes and the skills of his stars Toornstra and Berghuis to secure the win. But as shown in this analysis, against solid defensive systems not always will have success if depends only on individual talent. The invincible Feyenoord will keep pursuing Ajax in the league standing four points behind and with the surprising Vitesse in the next round match.