The recovery came quickly and PSV defeated ADO by 4-0 last Sunday. The Eredivisie is running tight with Ajax in the lead but with PSV trying to return to the top.

In this tactical analysis, we’ll take a closer look at how PSV managed to secure an excellent winning using fluctuation between the offensive players. And we’ll check the statistics and tactical movements that show lack of intensity from ADO to prevent defensive issues.

Lineups and formations

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs ADO Den Haag - tactical analysis tactics

With the absence of many players, PSV’s manager Roger Schmidt had to improvise a slight change on the starter eleven. Ryan Thomas and Mauro Junior were allocated in the right and left-back respectively. In the middle, A. Fein, former Bayern Munich player, had the opportunity to start replacing P. Rosario. That way PSV kept its 4-4-2 formation with a dynamic attacking line with M. Goetze, M. Ihattaren, E. Zahavi and D. Malen.

ADO’s manager A. Rankociv promoted a tactical change last week for the KNVB Cup against Sparta Rotterdam and kept the 3-5-2 formation to face PSV as well. With a few players changes, Dario Del Fabro was centralized in the defence line, J. Goossens covering the left midfield side with Samy Bourard being the player who linked the middle and the attack.

ADO’s tactical movements

The manager Rankociv found out a way to populate the midfield while being positioned to explore the counter-attacks. He’d tried to explore the backside of PSV’s defence, especially in the left side where the team had 93% of danger actions. The team ended with 21 attacks in total but only 14% with shots on goal.

The theory was perfect, but the practice was not. With a 3-4-1-2 formation, Rancociv used A. Ratiu in the right side and L. Faye in the left side positioned in the middle, covering the defence and being options to the offensive transition. The image below we can see the players positioned without the ball.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs ADO Den Haag - tactical analysis tactics

When PSV attacked on the side, and it was 35 of the 52 total attacks,  the left and right midfielders closed the line of the defence, compacting the team into a four or five-line defence. Even with players superiority in the middle, ADO struggled to prevent the ball from reaching their own defensive third. 

The image below we can see Ratiu, the right midfielder, closing the four-line defence covering while PSV attacks on the left. We can notice in the image also how Mauro Junior, PSV’s left-back, was giving width amplitude to the attacking transition with plenty of room to explore.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs ADO Den Haag - tactical analysis tactics

One of the intentions that the team showed on the pitch was to pressure the opponent that had the ball possession. At least three or four players close down spaces to intercept the offensive transition. Again, the intention was clear but the execution was not.

We can see in the image below five players of ADO in motion to close the spaces around PSV’s I. Sangaré. Of course the quality of the player with the ball also gives a sense of how the outcome of the movement went, but the manager’s idea was there.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs ADO Den Haag - tactical analysis tactics

Attacking intercepted

ADO’s manager’s intention to attack was clearly to use the spaces behind PSV’s defence side. D. Phillip was the player that fluctuated behind the defence while the striker P. Krammer was hoping to receive the ball in conditions to conclude. The image below we can see Philip exploring the right side with space to cross the ball so Krammer missed a chance.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs ADO Den Haag - tactical analysis tactics

ADO did try to attack. But it failed a lot due to a particular player in PSV’s defence: Olivier Boscagli. The former Ligue 1 player was almost perfect in his actions in the match. It was 75% of successful actions in the match, 83% of pass accuracy and 71% of duels won. The player made four interceptions with clearances and gave two deep completions.

With Mauro Junior playing improvised in the left-back, Boscagli was positioned to cover his teammate advancing on the pitch. The heatmap below for Boscagli shows his intensity on the left side, especially in the defensive midfield portion.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs ADO Den Haag - tactical analysis tactics

With Boscagli inspired, Teze secured on the right side and Sangaré being a strong defensive midfielder, PSV didn’t give ADO a chance to be competitive. 

Offensive dynamism

If the defence goes well for PSV, the attack is structured and fatal. Whether with Malen or N. Madueke. The England youngster replaced Malen in the halftime and scored twice in the second half to secure PSV’s winning.

But what makes PSV’s attack fatal is how dynamic it is. The 4-4-2 formation is always turning into a 4-2-4 when attacking. This match Ihattaren on the left and Göetze on the right were the midfielders that supported Malen and Zahavi. But what we see in the pitch is every player being supportive at every piece of the attacking third.

In the image below we see the play before the first goal. Zahavi received the ball in the middle and triangulated with Malen and Göetze. The ball ended up with Zahavi inside the box suffering a penalty foul.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs ADO Den Haag - tactical analysis tactics

Göetze, in particular, has been a player that centralizes the ball possession. In this match he received 98 passes. He had the most combination of passes in the match. With smart players on the field, the manager can pick up any player to make the same movements.

In the second half, with Madueke and P. Max entering the pitch, Mauro Junior was advanced to his original left midfield position. The player contributes to creating more dynamic to the attacking phase.

In the minute 50, Zahavi again is playing in the middle disrupting ADO’s defence. Mauro Junior made a movement that opened space to Madueke who received the ball cleared in front of the penalty area. The image below we can see that Mauro Junior’s move made Goossens, the opponent’s midfielder, hesitate. 

That hesitation generates the perfect corridor to which Zahavi finds the vertical pass to Madueke concludes on goal.

Eredivisie 20/21: PSV vs ADO Den Haag - tactical analysis tactics


The two weeks ago bad form in Europa League of PSV highlighted the poor balance between the offensive and defensive zones. The manager Roger Schmidt had work to fix it and this analysis showed that some of the issues were fixed. Defensively the team was more solid and wasn’t bothered by ADO’s attack.

ADO struggled to keep intensity to prevent a loss but the manager showed different tactics to at least give the players alternatives to a more solid game. It wasn’t expected to accomplish perfection against PSV but the tactics of pressuring the opponent with the ball and using the midfield sides to attack and defend can be a good option.

With COVID-19 contagious affecting the clubs, the matches ahead can become unpredictable with mixing players. Eredivisie’s tight fight for the throne we’ll extract the best tactical pieces of training from the managers.