Tactical Analysis – AZ Alkmaar 2-4 PSV Eindhoven

PSV move level on points with second-place Ajax with a comfortable 4-2 win at AZ Alkmaar.

Two goals in quick succession from an unlikely source, Jetro Willems, gave PSV an early two goal lead.

AZ Alkmaar immediately pulled one back after falling two behind when Fred Friday converted for the hosts.

PSV dealt a deadly blow to AZ by scoring on the brink of half-time through midfielder Pereiro. Luuk De Jong added another in the second-half and Fred Friday grabbed a consolation for the hosts to increase his tally to two goals for the game.

AZ Alkmaar drop to sixth place with 7th place FC Utrecht and 8th place FC Twente set to play tomorrow. PSV stay in touch with the top two and moved level on points with Ajax, who also play tomorrow.

Tactical Analysis

PSV executed their game plan to perfection and suffocated AZ with their pressing style of play. The defending champions closed down the gaps very quickly and pressed high to keep the hosts pegged back in their own half.

AZ Alkmaar did have some joy on the left hand side and used this as an attacking outlet. This was due to Santiago Arias and Daniel Schwaab creating too much distance and an exploitable gap.

The weakness was exploited in the late stages when Fred Friday stole the ball from Schwaab to score a late consolation goal. However, AZ had already admitted defeat and were tirelessly teased by PSV, who dictated possession in the closing stages.

It was a very disappointing performance from AZ, who looked static, lethargic and uncommunicative. The defensive display from the hosts was truly embarrassing and Jetro Willems was gifted tons of space to run into for his two early goals.

The defensive mistakes persisted and AZ lost their dignity when they fell three goals behind in the second-half. Pereiro was allowed to stroll into the box to meet Luuk De Jong’s knock down completely unmarked and unchallenged.

The conclusive blow had to be the most embarrassing, De Jong simply wandered into the penalty area and meet Van Ginkel’s low delivery. Fred Friday retrieved some pride for AZ, who were completely outplayed by last season’s Eredivisie winners.

AZ were static and lethargic when in possession, they mainly toyed around with the ball between their defensive players. This was because the midfielders were reluctant to offer for the ball and make space and create gaps for the ball to be fed into.

They grew frustrated and ended the match with 10 players due to a foolish challenge from Stijn Wuytens on Luuk De Jong, which earned him a second booking. PSV began to create even more opportunities once AZ were reduced to 10-men and this left Alkmaar vulnerable when attacking due to the disadvantage in numbers when it came to defending PSV’s counter-attacks.

Enough about AZ, it was a very professional performance from PSV, who controlled the game and won the match in a deserved manor. They showed a very good balance of defence and attack, and also had a good balance of compactness and width.

 

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