Primera Iberdrola: A guide to the top five Spanish teams

"We Call It Fut Fem" – A Her Football Hub Spanish Column

Spain is different, in bad and good ways. Our league isn’t professional at the moment but they are trying to change that. The Spanish league is called “Primera Iberdrola” because the multinational electric company Iberdrola is the league’s sponsor. 

Sixteen teams currently make up the top flight of Spanish football. The last two in the standings at the end of the season are relegated to the second division, the Reto Iberdrola.

The two top teams from the second division ascend to these two free positions. The top three teams on the Primera Iberdrola leaderboard qualify for the Champions League.

FC Barcelona, league champions two seasons running

The pandemic caused many games to be postponed in the different leagues during the 2019/20 season. Barcelona was the team that suffered the most, although they won with a large difference in points over the rest of the clubs. 

They accumulated 59 points, nine more than the second in the league. They scored 86 goals while playing a classic 4-3-3 formation, while generating superiority by introducing the defenders into the rival part of the pitch.

The 2020/21 team was perhaps the most dominant side on the planet. The won the Primera Iberdrola again with a 33-0-1 record, scoring 167 goals while conceding just 15. They won the 2021 Champions League Final over WSL Champions Chelsea, 4-0. The 2021/22 season is continuing in the same fashion. Barcelona sit atop the table with a perfect 7-0-0 record. In those seven wins, they have scored 43 goals, and conceded but one single goal. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

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Barcelona’s attack features forwards with great passing and finishing skills. Caldentey, Graham Hansen, Martens, Oshoala, Rolfo, Hermoso, attackers that are the stuff of a goalkeeper’s nightmares. But if we want to analyze this team, we must talk about possession of the ball in the midfield. The architects in charge of this task are Alexia Putellas on the left side, Patricia Guijarro at the center, and Aitana Bonmati on the right side.

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The beautiful style of play of Real Sociedad

If you like the Barcelona style of game, Real Sociedad is a good team to follow in the Spanish league. They are a young team, but with a clear sense of what happens on the field. 

Their captain, Nerea Eizagirre, sees the midfield expertly and delivers perfect passes. She links up well with forward Amaiur Sarriegi. The striker knows how to position herself between rival defenses and scores some beautiful goals. 

The team currently sits second in the standings with 18 points. They dropped their first match of the season this past weekend to Levante. After Manuela Vanegas was sent off in the first half, their ten-woman side held level until the 89th minute. Last season they finished fifth and were nine points short of getting into UWCL spots.

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Two teams from the capital

Atlético de Madrid has a lot of history and trophies from the Spanish league. Their style of play is very different from what we have talked about before. They focus on a much more physical style, where the forwards seek to wear down rival defenses. 

The recent signing of Maitane López has been the key to strengthen the midfield. Her passing allows players like Ludmila Da Silva and Thembi Kgatlana to make their runs and get scoring chances.

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Another team from the capital is Real Madrid. Although it is a historic club in men’s football, they are a very recent team in women’s football. Their style of game focuses on runs made by the wingers moving the ball up the pitch quickly. Athenea del Castillo, Marta Cardona and Olga Carmona all excel in this attacking style for the side. 

They also have players who finish off the chances they have. Esther González finished two goals from being the top league scorer last season while with Levante. Nahikari García is a proven goal scorer, having tallied over 100 times while with Real Sociedad. However, the team is not having much success finding the back of the net this season. With only three goals scored in seven games, they currently sit thirteenth of sixteen in the Primera Iberdrola table.

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Levante UD – “Las granotas” (The Frogs)

Lastly, we have Levante UD. The Valencian side made the UWCL, but fell against Lyon of Division 1 Feminine in the second round. The team finished third last season, but saw many players and their coach exit before the start of this season. 

Now they have a style of play that utilizes the speed of their wingers, Maria de Alharilla and Paula Tomás. The speed of their forwards is also important for the team. Brazilian international Giovana Queiroz and Alba Redondo are vital to an attack that has produced 12 goals thus far.

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