Twente 2-0 PSV: Twente go top

April 5, 2011

The starting line-ups

FC Twente moved ahead of PSV Eindhoven, thanks to two goals from Theo Janssen.

Nikolay Mihaylov replaced Sander Boschker in goal, in Michel Preud’homme’s only change – Bryan Ruiz was only on the bench.

Fred Rutten named an unchanged side from the XI which beat Utrecht the previous weekend.

The game started at a slow tempo. The most obvious feature were that the two midfield trios were ‘matched’ up against each other in the centre of the pitch, with clear 1 v 1 battles. None of these players could get away from their marker to receive the ball, and therefore both sides spent the first few minutes playing the ball across the defence.

Direct play

With the midfield so unproductive in terms of creativity, both started trying to play direct balls from the defence to the two wide players. PSV did this slightly better than Twente – Balázs Dzsudzsák showed good awareness of the situation to drop deep and get service into feet, though this meant Emir Bajrami was in a position to double up, whilst Jeremain Lens stayed wide and wanted balls played down the wing. The best chances early on came from set-pieces.

The first half went through phases – around 20 minutes, both sides started trying to play balls over the top of the opposition defence. Denny Landzaat’s overhit pass almost found Wout Brama, who made a rare run from deep, and then Wilfred Bouma stepped out of the back to sweep a wonderful ball over to Marcus Berg, who wasted the opportunity. Berg had a poor game, staying upfront as a poacher but wasting chances, whilst Luuk de Jong was more of a link-up man.

That development owed much to both sides playing higher up and leaving space in behind, and another result of this was the increase in counter-attacking towards the end of the first half, as both sides left gaps at the back. Berg had another couple of chances here, as PSV seemed more suited to the counter-attacking game.

Second half

The tempo of the game increased again in the second half, with both sides pressing more and putting more pressure on each other’s defences. Again, this seemed to favour PSV, who were on top for the first 15 minutes of the second half – they seemed more mobile without the ball, and more cohesive when they tried to win it back.

Twente were hanging on slightly – but were still looking to score, and it was an entertaining contest as both sides looked to get the three points, rather than settling for a 0-0.

Ruiz on

The game changed significantly with the introduction of Bryan Ruiz, the Twente forward who caused havoc with his dribbling and immediately shifted the balance of play. Twente were more of a force in the game, and Ruiz found it easy to pick up possession – and one of his dribbles resulted in a penalty, converted by Janssen.

PSV had to respond, though Rutten didn’t change his system. Instead, he introduced Genero Zeefuik as a direct replacement for Berg, keeping the 4-2-3-1 shape and the same strategy he started the game with. However, as PSV seemed to be favouring a quick, confrontational game towards the start of the second half, they were now less effective when Twente had the luxury of sitting back and soaking up pressure. PSV found it difficult to play the ball to their wide players, and missed the presence of Ola Toivonen when playing through the centre.

Twente played on the counter late on, and Janssen grabbed his second with a wonderful run and chip.


A game of many parts – six, in fact, roughly in 15-minute spells. We had, in sequence (a) a slow, cagey game with all six midfielders struggling for time on the ball, (b) a period where the defences pushed up and both played longer balls, (c) a brief spell of counter-attacking before half-time, (d) more pressing in the second half and PSV on top, (e) Ruiz’s introduction putting Twente in command, and (f) PSV pushing for an equaliser, and Twente playing on the break.

PSV may feel slightly aggrieved at the scoreline – they created a few chances, but Berg wasted too many. The tactical battle was relatively even, and really the difference came from two individual runs – first from Ruiz, then from Janssen.

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