The 2018/19 Eredivisie season ended in a somewhat bittersweet taste for PSV. They were by far the most brilliant team in the first half of the season. They managed to win 16 games out of 17 and they were on a 13-game winning run until they tasted their first loss against Feyenoord in December.
Unfortunately, they were not able to replicate their form in the second half of the season. Ultimately the young and resilient Ajax squad took over the top spot in the closing stages of the season, stealing the throne from the reigning champions.
PSV ended their season as the runners-up. They were just three points behind Ajax who sat atop the table with 86 points.
There was quite a visible trend as the season’s end came nearer. Players seemingly started underperforming and the defence started leaking goals. But despite that, there was one anomaly that seemed to be unaffected by the club’s downward spiral. His name was Angeliño Tasende and he was, arguably, PSV’s most consistent performer last season.
In this tactical analysis, we’ll learn more about the pacey attacking full-back who had an impressive season with PSV.
The Spanish wide man has played in a variety of positions throughout his career – showing his impressive versatility. According to the records, Angeliño used to play a lot in a more advanced position when on loan at New York City. The Spanish prospect often played as a winger on either side of the flank.
At Manchester City circa 2016, Angeliño often occupied a more central role as he played as either a central midfielder or a defensive midfielder. Meanwhile, in his six-month loan spell with Mallorca in 2017, Angeliño was often deployed as a left winger or a left wing-back.
Only starting in the 2017/18 season that Angeliño established his position as a left-back. But he’s not just any left-back, he was extraordinary – and his performance and statistics that season spoke for themselves.
Angeliño went on loan to NAC in the summer of 2017. He immediately cemented himself as the first choice left-back. He was ever-present and played the whole 35 matches for NAC that season. Angeliño managed to record an impressive three goals and seven assists that season as he helped his team narrowly escape the relegation zone.
His excellent performances that season were enough to attract the interests of numerous clubs including PSV – who eventually secured his services for as little as €5.5 million in the summer of 2018.
At PSV, Angeliño established himself as a proper offensive full-back once again. Playing on the left side of PSV’s four-man defence, Angeliño’s tenacity and energy regularly threaten the opposing defence.
With the presence of Luuk de Jong inside the box, his pinpoint crossing could be a dangerous threat for the opposing team. And indeed they were an extremely dangerous threat last season. De Jong is a clinical finisher who’s strong in the air and knows where to position himself in the box. The towering Dutch striker benefitted greatly from Angeliño’s crosses last season as he scored an outstanding amount of 32 goals in 43 games.
The Spanish full-back, on the other hand, managed to collect 12 assists in the same amount of games as de Jong.
Active and creative
With the likes of Denzel Dumfries and Angeliño at his disposal, Mark van Bommel took the liberty of playing with offensive full-backs.
Van Bommel deployed his team in a 4-2-3-1 shape in almost every game throughout the 2018/19 season. They seemed to focus their attacks mostly through the flanks, recording an average of 31 attacks from the left side, 29 from the right, and 24 from the centre every 90 minutes. They seemed to be quite aggressive and efficient from the left as well. Around 3.8 shots at goal were usually produced from left-sided attacks and their efficiency was at around 12%.
They played with flexible wingers who often swapped position and disrupt the defence. These wingers tended to sit narrower and occupy half-spaces, thus allowing both full-backs to advance and exploit the flanks.
Take a look at the left-back’s heatmap this season below.
Here we can see that the Spaniard actively moved up and down in every game this season. The heatmap also shows that Angeliño loves to sit high and get to the byline to deliver his crosses.
Talking about crosses, Angeliño seemed to establish himself as probably the best crosser in Eredivisie last season. The Spain youth international amassed a total of 226 crosses last season. That is 5.25 crosses per game and he completed them with an impressive success rate of 36% rate. Angeliño is able to deliver accurate crosses from deep and from the byline.
Angeliño is also an excellent passer with fantastic spatial awareness. He is able to not just deliver passes accurately, but also open up spaces and create chances with his crisp passes. Angeliño delivered an average of 64 passes per game with a 79% accuracy. He also made around 1.89 key passes per game.
As a defender, of course, his most important task is to defend. Despite being known mostly for his attacking flair, Angeliño turns out to be not a very shabby defender at all.
The Spanish left-back made a total of 293 defensive challenges in 43 games across all competitions last season. That is 6.8 defensive challenges per game with a 61% success rate. Angeliño also averaged around 6.5 tackles per game with an impressive success rate of 67%.
Not just that, Angeliño also recorded a total of 218 interceptions in all 43 games. That means he makes an average of 5.1 interceptions per game. This clearly showed his excellent defensive positioning and anticipation.
Here is a map of Angeliño’s defensive actions throughout the season.
No player is perfect, let’s just all agree on that. Even the most complete full-backs have flaws. What should we learn is, how does that affect the player’s game?
For an attacking-minded full-back like Angeliño who has very impressive attacking stats, people tend to play closer attention to his defensive performance.
Despite being a prolific tackler, Angeliño seemed to be struggling to stick close to his man last season. Not being able to mark his direct opponent – especially in dangerous areas – rarely went unpunished.
He seemed to also be quite vulnerable in 1v1 defensive situations, often beaten rather easily by the opposing attacker – which sometimes could result in a goal.
PSV seemed to be quite vulnerable on the flanks as well. This was perhaps due to the high positioning of the full-backs. They seemed to get caught often on a quick break and their left flank seemed to be the most vulnerable side when on the counter. This, of course, makes sense due to the fact that PSV tended to attack mostly down the left flank, which means that there’s a big chance that Angeliño will be out of his position when in transition.
This has been quite a problem for PSV last season as they struggled to keep the opposing team from attacking down the flanks.
Aerial duels may not be his strongest side in the game as well. Angeliño made an average of 2.1 attempts per game, winning only around 50% of them.
PSV lost the services of both Santiago Arias and Joshua Brenet in the summer of 2018. The two full-backs moved to Atletico Madrid and Hoffenheim respectively.
Van Bommel – who succeeded Phillip Cocu that season – needed to act quickly to replace the two key players. That summer PSV brought in Dumfries and Angeliño. The two offensive full-backs did a magnificent job at the back, but Angeliño seemed to be the one that attracts more attention due to his consistency.
After an outstanding campaign with PSV in the 2018/19 Eredivisie season, various clubs around Europe are once again chasing the offensive full-back. PSV, of course, aren’t going to let him go for peanuts, but Manchester City may just be able to pull off a ridiculous coup.
The Premier League champions have a buy-back clause for the full-back. Bringing him back to Etihad will only cost them a tiny amount of €12 million. According to several reliable sources, Manchester City may want to trigger the clause in the summer.
Versatile, aggressive in attack, solid in defence, hard-working, pacey and tireless – Angeliño has shown a lot last season, but there are surely even more to come.
Looking back at this tactical analysis, surely we can understand why he’s one of the best left-backs in Europe last season.