Barça Femení 2020-21 Season review : Part 2 – The league title Journey

The 2020-21 Primera División began in October. The start date pushed back after a conflict between the RFEF and Rayo Vallecano over preseason dates. With the 2019-20 league being cancelled in May, there was nearly a five month break of playing consistent, league football. It’s easy to forget just how dominant Barcelona was in 2019-20 after such an abrupt ending to the previous season. They didn’t score an average of 4-5 goals each game. But they were on an unbeaten streak of 21 matches before being declared winners. As expected, Barcelona’s dominance over the league did not end.

But no one expected such sheer magnitude of Barcelona’s winning ways. The team started their season with a triumphant 4-0 El Clásico win against newly-formed Real Madrid Femenino. This team team recently overhauled by the signings of some of Spain’s best players. If 4-0 wasn’t a good enough start, their next few results- 6-0, 6-0, 5-0, 3-0, 5-1, and 9-0. This easily easily made them the team in Europe with the best form. They went into the winter break with 10 matches played on a goal difference of 55. Moreover, they scored 57 goals and conceded two. Upon returning from the winter break, Barcelona were about to play in the Camp Nou. This was the first ever competitive match between women’s teams at the iconic stadium. Playing against their cross-town rivals Espanyol, Alexia Putellas captained the match after first-captain Vicky Losada was out due to COVID-19.

Dealing with Covid-19

Like it was written in the stars, Alexia scored FCB Femení’s first ever competitive goal at the stadium. And after her came strikes from 3rd captain Marta Torrejón. 18-season-tenured Melanie Serrano, global superstar Lieke Martens, and the unlikely Ana-Maria Crnogorčević settled the score at 5-0. Of course the league season wasn’t without controversy surrounding Spanish football’s governing body, the RFEF. Ever since the league began in October, the RFEF was put under fire for struggling to deal with COVID-19 protocol for non-professional leagues such as the Primera División. By January, Barcelona was the team most affected by match postponements with 4 matches yet to be rescheduled in an already packed schedule.

The situation was so bad that on January 30th, dozens of the league’s top players released a joint statement requesting the Federation take responsibility for their poor management and to improve upon COVID-19 protocol. Not many more matches needed to be postponed following that statement. But the players were right in their concerns that the postponements would lead to overload. Therefore at the end of the season, Barcelona played 4 matches in 7 days, and had multiple injuries amongst their starters.

Winning the league

On May 9th, Barcelona became the winners of the league with 27 straight wins. After securing the treble, Barcelona were aiming for the impossible and wanted a wins-only season in the league. They came close to slipping up against their rivals Espanyol. But they rescued a 3-2 win at the death to send los pericos even closer to their inevitable relegation. Unfortunately, Barcelona were not able to maintain their 100% unbeaten run, mostly due to overload and a collective squad burnout. With only two days of rest after the Copa de la Reina final, Barcelona faced their biggest league rivals, Atlético Madrid. In a dramatic 4-3 away loss, Atléti ended their unbeaten run of 49 straight matches in the league. Atléti were the first and only team to defeat Barcelona twice this year.

At the end of it all, the team finished with a goal difference of +152, one of the greatest ever goal differences for any team in Europe’s top leagues. Jenni Hermoso, the club’s all-time top scorer, retained her Pichichi title on the last matchday after scoring a hat-trick against Eibar that gave her 31 league goals on the season. Her Pichichi title was the fifth of her career in Spain, breaking former Barcelona striker Sonia Bermúdez’s record of four. The team also broke the record for most total points in a Spanish league season with 99, breaking their own previous record of 94 achieved in the 2011-12 season.

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