Vicky Losada has been one of Barcelona Women’s most impactful midfield weapons during the numerous seasons that she was at the club but this summer she will be leaving to search for a new challenge that would be most probably in the FAWSL, a league that she knows very well given the season that she had with Arsenal.
In this tactical analysis scout report, we will explore the main traits of this player in order to assess the value that she can add to her new team while looking mostly at her playmaking skills and defensive performances as well. This will be carried out while looking at some of the most informing extracts of her performances and analysing her statistics.
Roles and positions
Losada fit very well in Barcelona’s tactics since she was developed as a player at La Masia. And although she played for Arsenal, Espanyol and Western New York, when she came back to Barcelona, she proved that she is still an efficient player with great technique and a meticulous understanding of the game. Lluís Cortés has been using Losada as a weapon off the bench to give more freshness and compactness to the midfield, and we saw this happen a lot of times especially in the UWCL.
As you can see in this heat map, Losada covers the whole midfield as well as parts of attack and defence and this tells a lot about her dynamism and constant movement without the ball. In fact, Losada is one of the intelligent players who know exactly when, how, and why to run towards a specific spot which enables her to economise her energy and at the same time have an impact as well.
She plays mainly as a central midfielder at Barcelona and she can also play as a defensive midfielder perfectly, as she is quite good in terms of her positioning and ability off the ball. Therefore, at Barcelona she is also used as a defensive midfielder alongside Alexia Putellas and Aitana Bonmatí who are two of Spain’s best midfielders as well, which meant that she was sometimes overshadowed by that pair.
Losada plays without any issues in Barcelona’s 4-3-3 formation but she also used to do very well in Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1 as a pivot. This shows her ability to play in either setup quite well, and these specific questions of roles and positions can be fundamental for the clubs interested in acquiring Losada because it is going to give them a clear idea of how flexible she is.
When it comes to Losada’s playing style, it is important to note that she is at the same time a creative midfielder who has excellent vision and accurate crossing while also being a solid defensive midfielder who is always aware of her positioning as she helps the defence a lot when out of possession. To explore these traits, we will begin by analysing her passing quality and the ideas behind her decisions.
Losada had eleven assists and scored four goals this past season despite not playing regularly and being used as joker in the second-half to give more balance to the midfield. These numbers inform us about the efficiency of this player despite not playing a lot during the last period. In the following example, Losada’s crossing abilities are clear since she was able to avoid the disturbance of her marker and cross the ball accurately towards a midfielder who was coming from behind towards the far post. And being able to notice this off the ball movement and execute the cross with precision is something fundamental at this high level as it proves the efficiency of the player.
Just like this Losada effort resulted in a Barcelona goal, the following picture shows a similar one from the same wing but this time Losada had to pick the adequate crossing time and the needed precision to suit the player’s running movement to not allow the defender to intercept the ball. Losada has been so effective in this regard by crossing from the wings in a calculated way. Moreover, she is the team’s set-piece specialist. Her ability from set-pieces led to goals for Barcelona quite a few times.
At the same time, Losada exploits her impressive crossing technique when the team is in possession to create space for her teammates whether in the build-up phase or in the final third. You can see here how with just one long-pass from midfield to the right-wing she was able to break the opponent’s defensive line by supplying her teammate who was running behind the defensive line.
These sort of passes show how she is much more than just a defensive midfielder, reminding one of the likes of Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Milan‘s/Juventus’ Andrea Pirlo. In the next example it is clear how Losada’s cross towards her teammate puts the latter in a perfect shooting position while taking her marker out of the game with that pass.
Apart from controlling the midfield alongside Putellas and Bonmatí as well as providing this sort of creativity, Losada also knows how to position herself in dangerous spots to receive the ball whenever possible. She exploits the fact that she has the freedom to advance at certain times of the game and whenever she finds some space, she asks for the ball and creates danger. Although she doesn’t score too often, she still exploits every scoring opportunity especially if she receives a pass that allows her to be in a one on one situation with goalkeepers, just like she did here.
Not only this, the Spanish midfielder is also efficient in aerial duels and can score goals with headers. She did this several times and more importantly, this helps her a lot in the defensive phase even though she is not a tall player. This season she won 53% of aerial duels and for a player with her height, this is a good number.
When it comes to her defensive contribution and performances, Losada proved that she is an intelligent defensive player who knows how and when to intervene to stop attacks, intercept the ball with sliding tackles, or cover for defenders. This season she won an average of 52% challenges, made 72 interceptions, 89 tackles and 54 recoveries in the opponent’s half despite not playing a full season. These numbers highlight her defensive performances and show how important she can be as a defensive midfielder. Above all, Losada has been crucial in stopping counter-attacks by intercepting the ball like in the example shown next.
This happened more than once and Losada was usually attentive in such situations to not concede dangerous counter-attacks especially when Barcelona were undermanned at the back. At the same time, she also contributes in the pressing plans of her team by attacking the opponents in the build-up phase to not allow easy circulation of the ball and try to intercept passes.
Such pressing efforts not only help in disturbing the opponent’s build up but they also prevent them from advancing since Losada often presses these players in their own half. With the help of other Barcelona players, this pressing system is usually effective in stopping the opponent from advancing.
In addition, Losada has other defensive duties to execute especially when opponents reach the final third. She always attacks the opponents whenever they receive passes near the penalty box and tries to intercept the ball before they reach the defensive line. In other words, she forms a line of defence alongside Putellas and Bonmatí to intercept the ball before it reaches more dangerous areas. Here, her involvement in this action was fundamental to stop the attacker before reaching the box or attempting to shoot, even though she committed a foul.
Losada can be a key player at any big European team despite being 30 years old. She still can perform at the highest level and be crucial for her new team given her quality and ability, both on and off the ball. She has a lot of experience at the top level, having played in the Primera Division, the UWCL and the FAWSL, and this, added to her quality, means that her next team will acquire an excellent player who will make an immediate impact on the side.