Olga Carmona came on in the 62nd minute in Real Madrid Femenino’s match against Real Betis Féminas and was involved in everything positive for the rest of the game. Carmona was the most creative player on the pitch — bar Marta Cardona — despite only playing a half hour and doing so at left back.
She dictated play from the fullback position, was dynamic going forward, and would’ve had a goal if Lorena had put a little extra on her final pass. Carmona is very measured and positionally aware for a 20-year-old. She is able to make slaloming runs down the wing like a traditional winger and has perhaps been even more dangerous when bursting down the middle of the pitch.
Against Betis, Carmona displayed two of her best traits: her extensive range of distribution and her ability to spot and execute defense-splitting passes. One example was a 74th minute cross that perfectly found Jessica Martínez surrounded by defenders, although the striker was offside.
Carmona also displayed her delicate first touch, which rarely ever lets her down. Carmona’s control sets her up to sprint into space and causes defenders headaches without having to beat them off the dribble, which she is also very good at.
Carmona offers something different on the left than David Aznar’s other options. It seems that Cardona has solidified her spot on the right wing and that Sofia Jakobsson has been the go-to for Aznar on the left. But it may be time to mix things up to get the best out of the squad.
Last season, Jakobsson was CD Tacón’s only real threat in attack. She scored a team-high seven goals and added eight assists. This season she hasn’t been very involved compared to her high standard. Jakobsson has only assisted twice and scored once in 611 minutes.
This is obviously not terrible output from a player. The issue is that Jakobsson has been less and less involved in matches and has been fairly one-dimensional at times. She plays as a traditional winger, tries to beat players off the dribble, and uses her pace to exploit back lines. Her style of play yielded better results last year because Tacón was usually the team pinned back and almost solely relied on the counter-attack.
Now Real Madrid has more quality in defense, midfield, and attack. The majority of teams are trying to press Real Madrid before sliding into a mid-block. The scouting report is out on Aznar’s team. They struggled to create from the center of the pitch and rely on individual quality on the flanks. Teams have started to deny space to Real Madrid’s wingers.
Jakobsson has also played a lot of minutes this season without a proper preseason. She has played in most of Las Blancas’ matches and is also traveling all across Europe for the European Championship Qualifiers, where she is a key cog in the team.
There is no denying that Jakobsson is a world class player and may have the most individual quality on Real Madrid. But with another round of qualifiers this coming week and a tough three-match stretch at club level, it might be time for Aznar to give Carmona the nod at left wing.
At first glance this may sound ridiculous. Carmona has no goals or assists on the season. She is only 20 and Jakobsson is a world renowned star. But the fact that Carmona hasn’t registered any “end-product” is not a true measure of what she has done on the pitch.
Carmona has only played 310 minutes. She played 70 of them against Barcelona in Real Madrid’s first match of the season. Aznar was unsure of how the team, with nine new signings, would gel on the pitch and Barcelona pinned back Las Blancas for the entire match. Carmona also came on in the 58th minute in the match against Valencia that no one could watch.
That leaves 208 minutes where Carmona has looked a menace in attack despite splitting time between left back and left winger. She played the full match as a defender against Deportivo Abanca and as an attacker against Eibar, plus her 28 minutes against Betis as a defender.
The match against Deportivo Abanca was the first time we saw the Carmona at left back experiment. She looked a little out of place defensively. Carmona didn’t win many of her 1v1 battles against the ball, but did alright considering that it was her first match playing in the position for Real Madrid.
Carmona and Jakobsson started on the same side of the pitch and the first half was actually the best the latter has looked all season. The Sevillana was also at the top of her game offensively. In the 18th minute, she played a wonderful curling ball behind the back line to Asllani. Asllani was alone with the keeper but couldn’t finish.
Carmona dazzled offensively against Eibar as a left winger, constantly creating danger. She did really well to make a variety of runs to create outlets and drag defenders out of position. Her 13th minute chip shot flew just over the bar and her crosses almost always found her target.
Carmona should’ve had an assist in the 38th minute. She played a perfect cross to Jakobsson at the back post but the Swede scuffed it. To be fair, Jakobsson also should have had an assist but Kosovare Asllani’s first touch let her down when she was in on goal.
Carmona was the target on the first handball that resulted in an Asllani goal, while she also won the foul that led to the second penalty. The third goal had the young Spaniard written all over it again. Marta Corredera won the ball and passed to Carmona, who sprinted into space. Carmona really should have finished the chance but it was saved by the keeper before Cardona poked it into the net.
Jakobsson has not been bad this season, but a bit of rest may do her some good and it may spark a fire that ignites better performances. But this is much more about how good Carmona has been in her appearances. Her ability to create danger both on the wing and by drifting into midfield is similar to Marta Cardona’s game. With both Cardona and Carmona in the starting eleven, Aznar’s team will be more creative and more willing to slow things down. However, this doesn’t mean that Las Blancas will lose their counter-attacking threat — both have blinding pace and can render a defense useless with their dribbling and quickfire passing.
The inclusion of Carmona may also remedy other tactical issues. She is good at breaking the press and can help in midfield. Carmona and Cardona’s fluidity drifting around the attacking third could also help Asllani and Martínez get more involved. Jakobsson would then be able to come in in the second half and run at a tired backline, which suits her style of play and could result in more clinical finishing at the end of the match.
Olga Carmona has proven she is ready to start as a left winger and has shown that she can directly influence the scoreline. She also helps the team connect with each other across the pitch. Aznar should reward Carmona with starting minutes against her former club Sevilla, especially when considering that Real Madrid have to play two more teams in Levante and Espanyol in a seven-day span.