Hope everyone is doing wonderful.
We’ve seen blog’s decrypting men’s football. In this blog, we’re going to discuss about the tactical breakdown of the Barcelona Femeni. They are the current leaders of the Spanish Iberdrola, winners of the first Spanish Super Cup and the first Spanish team to play in a UEFA Women’s Champions League Final. And when we say about Barcelona football, we can’t leave out ‘tiki-taka’. This holds true for this Barcelona team.
Let’s dissect their play and see how they transformed after the debacle against Lyon in the Champions League Final.
Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway)
Jennifer Hermoso (Spain)
Andrea Falcon (Spain)
Assisat Oshoala (Nigeria)
How have they improved this season and what does it takes for them being top of the table?
Most of the time when a team loss their possession, we have seen them they try to reorganize by falling back and then try to win the ball back.
But pressing at Barca always work in a different way. The pressing comes into play at the moment they lose the ball. In the pictures below, you can see how they are pressing to stop the opposition moving forward. It’s not just one or two players pressing to the ball. It’s the team pressing higher. They will shut down the spaces and regain the ball as quick as they can.
The purpose of passing is to keep possession of the ball by manoeuvring it on the ground between different players with the objective of advancing it up the playing field. And again, Barcelona are ticking the right boxes here. If you see in this pictures, you can see them forming a little triangle between them making spaces. This helps in holding the ball as well as moving forward.
The midfield of Alexia- Patri- Aitana – Kheira and at times we see Jenni falling back to dominate the midfield. This free up the wingbacks to exploit the space they are offered.
Talking about the midfield, particularly Alexia and Patri has been the stars of the season. The two midfielders dictate the play and tempo of the match.
You can see how good Patri is here, she is coming out of the high pressing between 3 players and she is passing the ball forward. Again, she is passing the ball forward and not retreating and looking for safety.
Being a high-risk play, when executed properly would often lead to goal-scoring chances. I see Alexia and Parti as the standout players for Barcelona this season. Particularly, Alexia has been the key to Barcelona’s success who I feel is an underrated talent outside Spain. She has contributed 18 goals this season, the most by a midfielder in Spain this season
Let’s talk about the wingers:
Caroline Graham Hansen – The Assist Machine.
One of the best and highly rated transfer of the season need to be Barcelona. They have got one of the best dribblers of the women’s football. I would easily rate the transfer as the best in Women’s football above the rest.
Whenever she is on the ball you can’t just take your eyes away from her. It’s no easy feat to put a single defender to contain her. I often see the opposition forwards asked to do the defensive duties when Hansen is on the ball.
You can clearly see in the picture below how she is taking out defenders out of their position making space for others to feed on. We have seen something quite similar to this, when Messi is on the ball . Graham can impact a match just like Messi does. She can change the facet of the match in seconds and blow off opposition confidence.
With fast wingers like Caro, you can expect some lightning counter attack. These pictures below show how Barca changed the defense to attack and ended up having Caro one-on-one with the keeper.
Crisp and delicate one touch passes.
Here you go ‘BOOOM’.
And she has formed a formidable partnership with Marta Torrejon. They combine well and cause a lot of damage on the right side of the attack. With Caro, Barca's right side of the attack is ticked!
On the other side of the wing, Barca have the former women’s best player: Lieke Martens. The player who can go right, left or center and cause panic to the best defense in the world. Her left foot crosses are of pure quality.
Most of the season she was injured and Barca coped up well in her absence. Since her return, she has produced some fine displays like the one against the Atletico women in the Super Cup. As things stand, we can see some fine partnership building between Caro and Lieke. Two of the best wingers in the same team and if they can get the partnership clicking then another Champions League Final is on the cards.
Now let’s get into the Strikers:
Jenni and Oshoala:
Their numbers speak for themselves. They are the protagonists of this Barcelona team. Scoring almost same number of goals between them. Jenni involves more in the team’s build-up play and she perfectly suits Barca Style in dropping back and the play as a number ‘9’ while Oshoala is the predator in the box.
Sharing 40 goals between them is not an easy feat.
Hermoso’s signing was a major statement of intent for Barcelona following their defeat to Lyon in Budapest. She made her return to the club where she scored 77 goals for in 90 matches between 2013 and 2017.
Hermoso is best described as a complete forward. One of the most impressive facets of her game is the ability to play in just about any attacking position. Typically, Hermoso is deployed as a centre-forward, but during matches, you will often see her take up positions all across the forward line.
The forward does her best work dropping deeper into the half-spaces. In these areas she can combine with teammates and also look to attack herself should the opportunity present itself. One more statistics that suit her at Barca is that gets called for offside lesser times per match on average when comparing her to Duggan.
Hermoso tries to get into the space between the centre-half and full-back. She prefers this area for two main reasons. When play is moved into a wide position, getting into this area on the opposite side presents her with an ability to be a threat on crosses. The full-back must remain honest with their positioning due to the wide player in Barcelona’s 4-3-3 formation. She is constantly moving during a match and causing trouble for any defence she comes up against. This is a major asset for the Barcelona team. Lluis Cortes will be able to find countless ways to use Hermoso’s ability to generate opportunities in his tactics.
On May 31, 2019, Barcelona announced Oshoala's full transfer to the club and extension until 2022 similar to the one offered for Lieke Martens.
The physical threat that Barca posses inside the box in down to the Nigerian Lioness. Oshoala is turning heads with the Blaugranes. She’s joint top scorer with 20 goals in as many games.
Playing alongside Lieke, Caro and Jenni has immensely helped sharpen the rough edges of Oshoala’s game. Particularly her finishing. With the invincible pair, there’s next to nothing stopping Barca from breaking Atletico Madrid’s three-year vice grip on the Primera Liga title.
Cortes on Oshoala:
Asisat gives us a lot and sometimes that work is not really flashy,"
"Asisat didn't score [against Levante] and she didn't create chances but for us, as coaches, value many more things.
"Maybe, thanks to Asisat, Caroline [Graham Hansen] was able to shoot from the far post in the first goal.
"Also, thanks to Asisat, in Caro's transition when she is dribbling, Asisat creates space so Caro can continue dribbling and receive the penalty."
"In the end, those are movements without the ball that maybe, as fans, I understand a lot of times don't have much value.
"As [the media], I hope you can see the importance of them. And as a coach, of course, I highly value them."
Mapi, Stef and Andrea Pereira:
Barcelona’s defense haven’t been tested yet. But you can clearly see the improvement they have made since the Champions League loss. On counterattacks you can see Mapi and Andrea getting ahead of the forward and stopping the attack, making sure the ball is retained.
In the picture below, you can see Andrea getting high up until the opposite box, when it comes to pressing, Barca defenders contribute the most in terms of recovery and they possess a staggering 17 cleansheets in all competitions out of 27 games and they have conceded 2 or more goals only once in the so far this season
And I do see them struggle against fast players. If one area of the pitch, Barca needs to improve, it is the defense. They play a high line of defense with Leila and Marta supporting the wingers. They don’t have much support on the wings to defend.
I would say they are one of the best entertaining women’s team right now with their intricate passing. And all of this would go down to the planning Maria Teixidor, and Luis Cortes did after the Champions League humbling against Lyon.
OK guys. How would you rate this Barcelona team? Put your thoughts in the comment box below:
And I hope you liked the article. Any suggestion or breaking down any other team can be dropped in the comment box below.