Lessons learned from Barcelona Femeni’s stalemate against Sevilla

Sevilla FC vs FC Barcelona Femeni_ Match Analysis

Barcelona Femeni were held to a stalemate when they faced Sevilla in their Liga F game on matchday 29. The Liga F champions’ incredible run of league victories was finally brought to an end following a lackluster display.

1. There is no perfect season for Barcelona

Barcelona Femeni hasn’t failed to win a league game since losing 4-3 to Atletico in June 2021. A run that saw them complete a 100% winning record in Liga F last season. The team won all 30 games played and amassed all 90 points that were up for grabs.

Prior to their game against Sevilla, the team had won all 27 games played up to this point, setting them up for another season of perfection in the league. However, their dreams were thwarted by a Sevilla side that, although they failed to get a win, seemed happy to share the spoils.

Up until matchday 28, Barcelona had 81 points, with a total number of 113 goals scored and 7 conceded. The series of consecutive wins that carried on from last season seemed like a dream that would never end, a feat that saw them crowned champions before the last matchday with 4 games to spare.

However, with the title already won, the objective of winning the remainder of their Liga F games became secondary. And a slip-up wouldn’t do much damage, as either a loss or a draw wouldn’t cost them the title.

2. Primary objective: Win the UEFA Women’s Champions League title

Riding on the back of being European winners in 2021, the Catalan giants blazed their way through the European competition again in 2022 and got to the final. However, their dream of winning a second consecutive UWCL title was crushed by 8 times winners, Olympique Lyonnais, who were also responsible for their previous loss in the final of the competition in 2019.

The objective for this season, as always at a club like Barcelona, was to win every competition the club participated in. Although their run ended rather abruptly in the Copa de la Reina, when the Catalans were disqualified from the competition for fielding an ineligible player in a 9-0 win over Osasuna.

With that objective destroyed and irredeemable, Barcelona surged on in search of glory in the Spanish domestic league, Liga F, and the UEFA Women’s Champions League, UWCL.

And in the same week they were confirmed as finalists for the Champions League, Barcelona secured their Liga F title. One objective has been achieved, and the team is one step away from achieving the other.  However, to achieve the only objective left, Barcelona needed to make sacrifices. Manage the squad for the remainder of the league games while ensuring that the team is ready and free of injuries to play in the final in Eindhoven.

This meant that the manager needed to rotate the squad more often than not while ensuring that key players were well rested and protected to ensure their availability in the Champions League final.

3. Giving the youngsters an opportunity

The need for rest for some players and more game time for others resulted in heavy squad rotations after the league title was won. 

Barcelona has called upon the players who have not been regular starters for the team this season, as well as youngsters from the B team, to pick up the roles of the key players who have been given a deserved rest ahead of the Champions League final in June.

Familiar faces of young players like Nuria Rabano, Vicky Lopez, and Emma Ramirez, with players who are just making their return from injuries like Bruna Vilamala, Jana Fernandez, Mariona Caldentey, Claudia Pina and the best in the world, Alexia Putellas have all been getting the playing time required to achieve form and match fitness.

However, in the last two games, we saw youth players from the B team take the field for the Blaugrana. Martina Fernandez and Lucia Corrales made their first team debuts against Real Sociedad. And Ari Arias made her debut against Sevilla.

Players like Aitana Bonmati, Caroline Graham Hansen, Salma Paralluelo, and Patri Guijarro getting much deserved rest. 

Fridolina Rolfo and Lucy Bronze are still out due to injuries. Although the former’s injury seems to be due to minor discomfort, the English defender had to undergo arthroscopic surgery on her right knee and may be out for a few months.

4. Barcelona needs to convert more chances

As always in a Barcelona game, there is a certain level of intensity in their attacking play that causes a lot of problems for their opponents. This fast and beautiful, flowing attacking football has delivered an incredible amount of goal scoring chances for the Catalan team.

Leading the charts for most chances created in Liga F and the UEFA Women’s Champions League, Barcelona has proven that the record is no fluke by being the team with the most goals scored in both competitions.

With 114 goals scored in the league and 27 goals in the Champions League, it is obvious that the team’s goal scoring chances creation is unmatched even across Europe. However, the number of missed chances far surpasses the number of goals scored. This is an area that the Spanish champions need to improve upon. The game against Sevilla was devoid of clear goal scoring opportunities, but Barcelona had a few in the second half that they failed to make the most of, and as a result, the match ended in a draw, thus drawing the curtain on their amazing 62 match winning streak in Liga F.

5. The unbeaten record is still on

Barcelona may have had their winning streak brought to an end, but the champions still remain unbeaten. The last time the 8 times Spanish champions lost a league match was back in June 2021, when they were defeated 4-3 by Atletico Madrid.

They may not be able to repeat their 100% league winning record this season, but they still retain their dominance as an impregnable fortress. The Blaugrana have yet to lose a single league game in almost two years, and that is a perfect record on its own.

The undefeated Liga F champions will continue their conquest to stay unbeaten in the league on Matchday 30, where they will be playing against Athletic Club at the Estadi Johan Cruyff.

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