Barcelona Femeni had a good season after winning the Primera Iberdrola title this season for the fifth time in the history after the team secured 59 points ie., 9 points more than the second-placed Atletico Madrid.
The team reached the semi-finals of the Copa de SM La Reina and was scheduled to meet Sevilla before the Corona pandemic. We do not forget the team’s significant result against Real Sociedad in the Super Copa Femenina finals after winning 10-1 against them.
Despite losing 1-0 in the Women’s Champions League semi-finals a few days ago, the team did pretty well throughout the season, accompanied by coach Lluís Cortés.
In this tactical analysis, we will try to understand some of the approaches employed by the team in the UWCL season from a few selective matches.
Barcelona Femeni’s formation and key players
With coach Lluís Cortés, the team was present in a clear and impressive collective form throughout the season, where all the players participated in scoring goals and creating chances.
Asisat Oshoala, the Nigerian striker, was magnificent this season after scoring 23 goals and creating three assists, and forward Jenifer Hermoso also scored 20 and created four assists.
But the duo on the sides, the Norwegian, Caroline Graham Hansen on the right side and the Dutch forward, Lieke Martens on the left, did had a fair season, providing many assists from the sides and was a potent solution for the team.
The duo made 21 assists this season, specifically, Caroline Graham Hansen, who created 14 goals for her teammates, with both Alexia Putellas and Kheira Hamraoui in the middle of the field to build-up the play and secure the rise of the left and right backs.
Coach Lluís Cortés relies on building play on expanding the playing field from the sides, whether from the backs remaining on the line with the entry of Lieke Martens and Caroline Graham Hansen, or the opposite.
And here is another idea, which is for one of the players at the right or left back to settle to become in the third centre of defence, along with the other advancing vertically.
The coach’s ideas revolve around direct play in the space to the left and right wings, which we will notice in the coming examples.
We note here the idea of expanding the stadium with reliance on the formation of the fronts to become more collectively played with the overlapping process of the wing and midfielders.
Another idea is to have the ball on one side and then change the direction of play to the other end specifically towards Lieke martens on the left side, creating overloads towards one side of the pitch followed by the switch in play to create space and attack. This particularly works well when teams are aggressively man-marking.
Barcelona Femeni finds it challenging to build play from the depth and exit with the ball, which makes the team permanently resort to the sides.
This made the team’s offensive ideas focused on the sides significantly, whether from the backs of the wings.
Attacking from flanks
We will always find the ball in the last third of the court on one side, with more than one player flocking into the opponent’s penalty area and filling the void.
Moving vertically from the attacking duo next to the players of the sides means there is more than one solution when playing the cross ball inside the area.
What gives these ideas strength is the presence of Caroline Graham Hansen on the line to expand the field at the right end, and then move horizontally.
Caroline Graham Hansen has 47% successful key passes, which makes her an essential player in the assisting stage in the attack, especially with her impressive cross balls.
She was the player with most cross balls with a score of 94 balls and with a success rate of 25%, and that resulted in the scoring of a set of goals.
The team moves well with the ball as a group and goes to the opposing team’s penalty area, which means finding lots of solutions for the ball carrier.
As the team attacks as a group, it also defends as a group, which is what we will notice when the ball is lost.
Barcelona Femeni off the ball
The team applies the idea of high pressure on the ball carrier from the last third collectively to make it challenging to build the attack, which is illustrated with figure 4-4-2 on the field.
The defensive elements in the team also have a good success percentage in individual defensive situations, reaching more than 77% , which is collected in the interest of the group.
With the adoption of a high line of defence and convergence of bars to try and isolate the opponent’s midfield from his line of attack, which is explained in the next examples.
The team always focuses on hijacking the ball quickly when it loses a third of the opposing team, and this is due to the excellent positioning of the players.
Barcelona Femeni uses a high defensive line with the application of pressure and the bars close to each other, and this is the most critical idea of the team in defence.
But those thoughts of high pressure, with or without the ball, cause defensive transformation problems.
Barcelona Femeni’s defensive transition issues
The team suffered during the defensive transformation and returned to the first third due to the large backs leaving the spaces.
Barcelona Femeni is a distinguished team and has excellent style and players, but it has some problems. This was one of them.
In this report, we tried to show what the style of Barcelona Femeni was and how they performed in the UWCL this season from some selective matches. The method of building attacks from relying on the flanks and positioning when losing the ball is some problems Barcelona Femeni need to address.