Ajax made the longest finish (1-2) at Phillips Stadium on Sunday and took the lead from PSV Eindhoven. The match was not full of chances and it was not in the interest of the neutral spectator, but for the tactical spectator it was delicious.
By Quinn Bloks
Eindhoven. the changes
Roger Schmidt allowed PSV Eindhoven to take over from the 4-4-2 organization, during which he managed to keep Ajax away from his goal in the first half. Brian Bruby’s header – save for Stephen Burgess’ cross that hits the crossbar – was only the first danger and she was hit straight away. Ajax’s dynamic rearguard was the basis for this goal. Cody Gakbo, Mario Gotze and Ritsu Doan protected the passing lines through the middle. Eindhoven was amazed by the dynamic development.
Edson Álvarez and Jurriën Timber spin and break through the middle. Source: ESPN
Ajax took advantage of the surplus in the back area on the left flank of the goal. Ryan Gravenbrich took a position off the field and attacked the outside lane. Jordan Teese climbed to the side and opened up the space with Olivier Boscali. This opened the way for Dusan Tadic to attack the halfspace. For a moment it looked like Boscali was going to continue the Serb, but he left it up to Marco van Ginkel. He had to come from farther away and could not block the cross. Brobie nodded: 0-1.
Ajax’s signature attack to goal has been upgraded by Probi. Ajax attacks the side, half of the space and the middle at the same time. Source: ESPN
Where Eindhoven had a good defensive performance, he was sober in terms of attacking. PSV Eindhoven tried to embarrass Ajax defenders with a trick. Van Ginkel chose the position behind Tadic. This led to Daley Blind continuing, after which PSV Eindhoven tried to use the space behind the left-back. Duane came once in the first half, but that’s it.
Van Ginkel picks a position at the back of the Tadic to lure Blind out of the last line. After that PSV can attack the backcourt or play 1-on-1 odds on the other side. Source: ESPN
The fact that PSV Eindhoven had few chances had something to do with choosing a possession position. Erick Gutiérrez was the designer from the back, but he had more chances than the front. With more players between the lines, PSV Eindhoven seemed to have a chance of creating a surplus against the Ajax midfielders. But this requires courage, because losing the ball is very risky.
Guti could not lose the ball forward. Ajax is pushing forward and putting pressure on the PSV building. Eindhoven hardly succeeds in playing from under the ball. Source: ESPN
By bringing more players between the lines, PSV Eindhoven could have put Ajax into difficulties. Ajax midfield often chooses to cover their defensive midfielder (higher on the field). As a result, Alvarez plays by number and the central defender cannot move forward. Source: ESPN
In the end, Eindhoven will be back in the game. The timbers slipped and lost the ball to Jacko. The organization of the midfield in Eindhoven stood in front of the attacking midfielders from Ajax. As a result, there was an immediate shutdown and Gotze was able to take advantage: 1-1. Mazraoui rushed to the ball shortly before to do the ‘double double’: forming a surplus with Timber against Gakpo. But you forgot to look and close the position.
Inclusion by PSV is a result of the organization. After winning the ball, there are chances of you becoming dangerous from the midfield. This becomes clear at 1-1. Source: ESPN
PSV began using the long ball more in the second half and won the second balls. That opened up opportunities. Timber hardly blocked Duane’s high chance. Eindhoven also went for a higher visitor turn and turned 4-3-3. This ensured that the distance between the lines – perhaps also due to fatigue – became larger and larger and so there was more dynamics in the match that Ajax would win. Mazraoui set the final result with a score of 1-2 with a goal that will be discussed for a long time.
Gakpo in a counter position can lead to a dangerous attack. The penny drops the other way: Mazraoui lays down complete freedom after good Ajax fixtures. Source: ESPN
Queen Bloks (30) is the founder of Tactical base Extensive football e-learning program for coaches. Previously he worked for PSV and Willem II as a tactical analyst.
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