Friday, September 24, 2021
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FC Barcelona Femení: The Best of the Best

Barcelona Femeni 2021

The 2020-21 season was a historic season for Barcelona Femení, cruising to the Primera División title, Copa De La Reina and the UEFA Women’s Champions League, all with relative ease. The League form especially stands out as the team won 33 out of 34 games while scoring 167 goals and conceding 15, finishing the season with a goal difference of +152!

  

Core & Recruitment

 

Barcelona has been building this team for some years and has a core of players in defence and midfield who have come through ‘La Masia’, which includes two rotating left-backs in Melanie Serrano and Leila Ouahabi and midfielders Patri Guijarro, Alexia Putellas and Aitana Bonmatí. Having a core of players who have all learnt how to play the same way has allowed La Blaugrana to play with confidence and assurance due to the players seemingly knowing each other’s next move. Having defenders and midfielders specifically from the academy is vital due to the way Barcelona choose to play. 

 

The Catalans have dipped into the market and have done so with aplomb. As you could imagine the club opted for two centre-backs, in Mapi León and Andrea Pereira, who are both forward-thinking and capable of passing long.

 

Barcelona’s attack is made up of players who have not come through the academy but of players who all possess elite qualities, whether that is Asisat Oshoala’s poaching instincts, Jennifer Hermoso’s incredible ball control, Lieke Martens’ tendency to cut in from the right and score from distance, Caroline Graham Hansen’s skill in 1v1 situations or Mariona Caldentey’s ability to make space for others. These aforementioned have been able to come in and align themselves to the style of play and have added different types of skills to Barcelona’s arsenal.

 

 

The Barca Way

 

Barcelona is famed for its style of play which has seen the club be successful over many years. Now former manager, Lluís Cortés, initially joined Barcelona as a video analyst in 2017 and would become first team manager in January 2019. Being a Catalan himself, you could say that he already carries Barcelona and its style in his blood. Cortés was able to set out his ideas clearly and concisely, which immediately led to an attractive style of football and comfortable winning margins.

 

Barcelona likes to build up with the pitch as wide as possible, meaning that either the full-back or winger will stay wide, the central midfielders will interchange with the forwards, leaving space for play in the midfield. The centre-backs are very important to the way the team moves forward, looking for passes between lines, therefore allowing the ball to be spread into wide areas for crossing or 1v1 situations. Barcelona trusts their two centre-halves on the ball so much that they build their attacks in a 2-4-4 formation.

 

 

Process

 

On the 18th of May 2019, Barcelona Femení played in their first-ever Champions League final against Olympique Lyonnais. The side subsequently finished the season trophyless after losing 4-1. In said final, they noticed the difference in physicality between them and their opponents, prompting a change in the culture around the club. The players chose to double the number of training sessions and used the gym more to gain a physical advantage.

 

Along with the physical changes came a shift in mentality and approach to games. The changes paid off with Barcelona winning the league comfortably in 2020, through twenty victories and a solitary draw while scoring 86 goals and conceding 6 before the cancellation of the season due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Barcelona also won the 2019–20 Supercopa de España Femenina beating Real Sociedad by ten goals to one. This time Barcelona couldn’t bypass the Champions League semi-final after narrowly losing 1-0 to Wolfsburg. This defeat was another significant milestone in the journey to European glory, proving to many that the club belongs in the elite category of European teams.

 

 

Legacy

 

The 2020-21 season proved to be one of the best top-flight seasons by a single team in the history of football. In the league, Barcelona won the league by 25 points, taking 99 points from the 102 available, beat Levante 4-2 in the Copa De La Reina and nearly two years to the day became the first Spanish winners of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, after beating Chelsea 4-0 in the final.

 

The 6th of January 2021 was a very special day in the thirty-three-year history of Barcelona Women as they played their first game in the Camp Nou vs city rivals Espanyol. The game ended 5-0 in Barcelona’s favour and three of the scorers gave this occasion its poetic justice; Melanie Serrano who joined in 2003, Marta Torrejón and Alexia Putellas (2013 recruits) are the longest-serving players in the squad.

 

This Barcelona side has already left its legacy but these players will only continue to further it in the upcoming years. Barcelona still has a relatively young side and despite that, many players in the team already have experience at the highest level and have played in several high-tension games which will only equate to more glory. The Women’s game has accelerated a lot in recent years, especially in Spain, and with this success, this set of players are only just getting started, so let’s see what is to come.

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