Barça Femení Featured Femení, English Player Analysis

Ona Batlle: Tactical Analysis on Superstar Signing

Barça Femení brought Ona Batlle back home from Manchester early on in the summer (June 19, 2023) on a free transfer upon the expiration of her contract and she will fit like a glove at the club, as discussed by Alejandra Weil (X, @MWeeeeil_) below. 

Image: Ona Batlle kissing the Barça crest during her presentation at Estadi Johan Cruyff / via FC Barcelona.
Image: Ona Batlle kissing the Barça crest during her presentation at Estadi Johan Cruyff / via FC Barcelona.

Ona Batlle is a different right-back profile from Marta Torrejón and Lucy Bronze. Although both players know the Barça system well enough, despite the latter joining last season, there are factors that can always improve. The three together could have a lot of influence on the attack as well as in the defending boxes.

Ona Batlle is a skilled player, who knows when to move up the field but above all she has tremendous 1v1 dribbling quality (61.1% success rate) compared to that of Lucy Bronze (35%) or Marta Torrejón (14.3%). As we all know successful take-ons give you the ability to pass/cross the ball to a better positioned teammate. Crossing is one of Ona’s biggest strengths and vital to her playmaking.

Another metric that can be reviewed is assists minus expected goal assists (xGA). Ona Batlle (+5.1), Lucy Bronze (-1.7) and Marta Torrejón (-0.1). This can potentiate the forwards (Asisat Oshoala) and especially the midfielders who play in the advanced midfield line (namely Aitana Bonmatí, Alexia Putellas, Claudia Pina or Patri Guijarro). Ona is aggressive and wins the ball frequently for her midfielders. Additionally, she plays key passes into the final third so her presence makes the team productive collectively.

She is a homegrown player from ‘La Masia’ — joined in 2011 and eventually moved her way up to Barça Femení B before leaving for first division football. Playing on the right, the understanding and chemistry she has with Aitana Bonmatí could further enhance that wing. And when you add Caroline Graham Hansen to the equation, it becomes very difficult to stop that wing.

An aspect that makes Ona Batlle such a reliable asset is her versatility. Given that Fridolina Rolfö has suffered an injury on her right knee — further information to be released by the club on September 8 — we could see her play as a left-back occasionally rotating with new signing Esmee Brugts or youngster Lucia Corrales who impressed at the preseason tour. Ona excelled in the left-back position at the FIFA Women’s World Cup for Spain. We saw Ona’s connection with Alexia Putellas and Mariona Caldentey on the left flank in Australia & New Zealand. The Blaugrana stars played with control, connection, quality dribbling, filtered passes and with an accurate first touch.

Close to the touchline, Jonatan Giráldez (head-coach Barça Femení) can open up the field with Ona at his disposal and have more tactical options to set-up his games. She can play a good final pass & be an efficient crosser of the ball so we can expect a number of assists, chance creation and a lot of magic from the World Champion.