PSV Eindhoven hosted AFC Ajax at the Philips Stadium for the first De Topper of the 2019/20 Eredivisie season. The Dutch Nieuwe Klassieker never fails to entertain, especially when it comes down to tactics, and this clash lived up to all its expectations. The two contrasting schools of Dutch football played to their strengths fighting for the top position in the league table. In this tactical analysis, we break down their tactics as the minutes unfolded in this evenly contested fixture.
Mark Van Bommel’s Eindhoven were the more physical side and were more familiarised with their game model. They started as a 4-2-3-1 with Michal Sadílek, Nick Viergever, Timo Baumgartl and Denzel Dumfries forming the defensive line. Pablo Rosario and Jorrit Hendrix played in front of them in central midfield. The 17-year-old Mohammed Ihattaren played behind the attacking prowess of Donyell Malen with Steven Bergwijn and Bruma as his wingmen.
Erik ten Hag also used a 4-2-3-1 but several players were still adapting to his system of positional rotations. At the back, it was Daley Blind who held all the experience from the previous season. Although normally a fullback, Blind played as a centre-half alongside Joël Veltman. Ten Hag started two freshmen to the Ajax system, from across the Atlantic, Edson Álvarez and Lisandro Martínez in a double-pivot. Quincy Promes was utilised as the sole number 10 in the first half. Perhaps it was the attack where Ajax boasted their heavy artillery with the likes of David Neres, Dušan Tadić and Hakim Ziyech at the front.
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