Yash Thakur takes a look at a recently-converted full back in Spain’s Primera Division and uses TransferLab to profile her.
The modern full back role is one of the most difficult and versatile positions to play in football due to its physical demands and tactical variations.
In more recent years, we have seen the full back role accrue an increasing importance. One only has to think of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson at Liverpool and the way they are so functional to everything Liverpool do: full backs are becoming a fundamental mainstay to a team’s tactical approach.
Today we will be looking at one such full back, the 20 year-old Spaniard, Olga Carmona. Carmona spent the majority of her career so far as a left winger but spent the entirety of last season playing at left back for Real Madrid Femenino.
In this report, we will profile Carmona using TransferLab’s tools to assess her strengths and weaknesses.
Speed and Discipline
One of Carmona’s biggest strengths is her incredible pace and a seemingly never ending supply of energy. She can bomb up and down the flank tirelessly for the entirety of 90 mins of a game.
This attribute comes in handy in defensive transitions too as she can recover and get back in position really quickly. Look at this clip from when Real Madrid played against Madrid CFF in Primera Iberdrola:
In 48th min of the game, Real Madrid were caught on the break after a turnover at the other end of the pitch. Carmona made the recovery from the edge of the attacking penalty area and made a last ditch tackle to deny Geyse a clear chance to score. She covered almost 80 yards inside 10 seconds.
At the other end of the field, her inclination to attack whenever an opportunity presents itself benefits the team a lot. She can provide supporting runs either offering width with her overlapping runs or coming inwards to attack the box on the underlap.
In the clip here, we can see how she combines with her wing partner at speed:
One of the key attributes that makes Carmona invaluable to Real Madrid is the ball progression she offers. Her ability to drive forward with pace is rivalled by very few in world football, even at this young age and despite playing in an unnatural position.
Using TransferLab’s Player Plot function, we can compare the volume and quality of Carmona’s carries against those made by full backs in the Primera Division:
As you can see, although she isn’t putting up the greatest volume of carries per game in the Primera, she is adding the most value in the league via her ball carrying.
Beyond this, we can filter this plot to focus on only under-23 players with 900 mins played this season in the top 5 leagues (according to UEFA’s new coefficient rankings) plus the Italian league so as to gain a better understanding about how Carmona fares against players in the same age category across the world:
It’s clear she is a standout player in the world when it comes to adding the most value with her ball carries. Perle Morroni, Lyon’s new recruit, and Lucia Rodriguez, Real Madrid’s new signing, also fare brilliantly in the metric, highlighting their ability to carry the ball forward for their teams.
Another attribute of Carmona’s game is her crossing ability. Being a naturally left footed player playing on the left allows her to cross the ball with ease. The weight on her crosses and their timings to pick out the player she wants to is amazing as well:
Carmona was hailed as the girl with a golden left foot in her youth years at Sevilla due to her remarkable ability to cross the ball. Using TransferLab’s Player Plot feature again, we can take a look at how much value her crossing adds to her team’s scoring probability and the volume of the crosses she attempts.
Looking at fullbacks from the Primera Division in the 20-21 season Carmona stands out as one of the very best in the league for crossing, alongside her partner from the other flank, Kenti Robles. Both Robles and Carmona are high volume crossers. The Barcelona duo of Marta Torrejon and Melanie Serrano, outshine everyone in the league, though.
Applying the same filters as before and looking at numbers across leagues, we see some real standout players:
The soon to be full back duo at Lyon, Ellie Carpenter and Perle Morroni, both of whom are regarded as best young players in their position, are both high volume and high quality ball crossers. Lucia Rodriguez isn’t a high volume crosser but her crosses are of very high quality. We can see Carmona attempts a large volume of crosses and those are good quality crosses as well.
1v1 Take-Ons and Defending
Carmona loves to take on players in an offensive duel. She doesn’t attempt flashy tricks to beat players but rather her quick acceleration to attack the space in behind. Her pace makes her really hard to catch up to and creates separation from her marker:
Carmona isn’t the most physically dominant player. She has lanky stature but is incredibly intelligent in using her body to shield the ball and earn a foul.
Carmona is a good tackler and her game reading coupled with her pace make her really good at intercepting opposition plays. However, her attacking instincts and her desire to get on the ball, means she regularly gives away fouls too.
We can use TransferLab to compare Carmona to some of the top young fullbacks across the world to see how she compares against them in various categories:
On first glance, we can clearly see that there isn’t much between these players. Despite playing out of position for an entire season, Carmona compares really well against her counterparts in the league. Morroni stands out in most of the metrics. Real Madrid have made a solid addition to their squad with Lucia Rodriguez. Teams looking for a defensively solid LB should be paying attention to Turbine Potsdam’s Sara Holmgaard.
Carmona is still getting accustomed to the nuances of being a fullback. She is solid, no doubt, but can still improve in her in-game defensive awareness and over-zealous nature to win the ball back among other things. How much of that is down to team instructions is another factor to be considered and would require a team based analysis for Real Madrid Femenino.
There is no doubt that Carmona’s attacking ceiling is sky high. She was hailed as one of the brightest gems coming out of Sevilla’s youth system and her trajectory in this area has been a steady upward curve.
Whether Carmona ends up as a full-time full back, remains to be seen. One thing is certain, though: she is ready to thrive in whichever role she’s asked to perform and that versatility adds to her value.
Analytics FC provides software and data services to entities within football looking to realise the gains possible from analytical thinking. We provide cutting-edge software solutions such as TransferLab, which helps improve and simplify recruitment decisions. To find out more about TransferLab and our other data services, or to find out more about us, visit our website.