City completes the most dominant W-League season ever

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Melbourne City’s 2019/20 season was the most dominant W-League season of all time.

Throughout this season they were undefeated, notching up 13 wins and only one draw.

It marks the third time in W-League history that a team has won the league undefeated.

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Canberra United was the first in 2011/12 with nine wins and three draws, while Melbourne City won all fourteen games in 2015/16 en route to the title.

However, this season from City is a more impressive feat than both of those campaigns.

Firstly, the skill level and overall quality of the W-League today is light years apart from what it was back in 2011/12.

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Youth development has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, enabling more of the most talented young players to pursue a career in football.

This had led to an influx of talent to the W-League, creating a more difficult path for eventual champions to navigate.

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The Canberra United team of 2011/12 would be blown away by the top teams in today’s competition.

They drew in a third of their matches that season and six of their nine victories were by one-goal margins.

The league was also smaller back then. There were only seven teams competing, playing only ten matches. Meaning the 2011/12 Canberra side can be removed from the conversation.

A more difficult analysis is to say the 2019/20 City team was more dominant than the 2015/16 City.

That team had no blemishes on its record and had a superior goal difference (+34) compared to the 2019-20 City (+23).

Yet despite looking more impressive statistically, the Melbourne City of 2015/16 dominated an imbalanced league with more bad teams than good teams.

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Only two of the nine teams had a positive goal difference that season compared to five in 2019/20.

Only two of the nine teams won seven of more games, compared to all four finalists in 2019/20.

Furthermore six of the nine teams in 2015/16 had losing records come the end of the season, compared to only four in 2019/20.

The pathway to an undefeated season can be looked at as harder in 2019/20. Teams have tougher defences, strategy has improved, as has fitness.

City entered the 2015/16 as an unknown commodity. It was their first season in the league and nobody knew what to expect.

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However this season they were the red-hot favourites from the get-go.

They only assembled their squad late and had to work things out on the run as they strung together early wins.

The only blemish on their record came in round one when they drew with the Newcastle Jets, ironically the eventual wooden spooner.

While this blemish stands out on their record, the 2015/16 City team had to go to penalties to win its semi-final against Brisbane Roar.

Who is to say if the 2019/20 City was given the opportunity to play extra time and penalties in round one they would not have won the match and therefore had an unblemished record.

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City’s 2019/20 season is a more impressive feat than the earlier campaign.

During the season they strung together seven straight clean sheets and seven straight multiple goal victories.

Over the course of the year they slowly improved and were firing on all cylinders come the finals.

They destroyed Western Sydney in the semi-final 5-1 and then defeated the reigning champions Sydney FC 1-0 in the grand final in an empty stadium due to crowd restrictions.

It was just another obstacle they had to overcome, en route to the most dominant season of all time.

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne City FC

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Michael Patane
Student at Monash University and lover of all things football covering Melbourne City in 2019/20.