This week at Barça Femení: the good, the bad and the ugly
Barcelona’s all-conquering women’s team have taken another big step towards the Primera Division title when they traveled to the Basque Country to face Athletic Bilbao. It was a much tougher match than expected with the home side taking him to Barca early on.
Femeni didn’t play their usual fine football and had to work hard for their goals, with Marta Torrejón opening the scoring just before half-time. But in the second half they managed to secure some separation, and Asisat Oshoala and Mariona Caldentey found the back of the net to hand Barca a 3-0 victory, their 22nd in 22 games of the league season.
Barca’s win combined with another Real Sociedad defeat increased the Blaugranaleads to 22 points at the top of the table with just eight games to go, but with third-placed Granadilla having one less game that could reduce Barca’s lead to 20, Femeni still need four points to clinch the title. Their next league game is against Alavés away from home in two weeks, and they could win the league with three points in that one provided either Sociedad or Granadilla drop points as well.
Així marxem has the aturada de seleccions…
1️⃣2️⃣5️⃣ GOLS A FAVOR
⚡️ SPECTACULAR ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/e7EAE5USJj
— FC Barcelona Femeni (@FCBfemeni) February 14, 2022
If that was the only news we got all week Femeni land, things would go well as always. But the injury bug has decided to bite the team hard over the past few days, with key injuries all over the place heading into the final stretch of the season.
The first bad news came on Monday when it was announced that star defender Irene Paredes will miss the next four weeks with a hamstring injury. Due to the international break, Paredes will only really miss two weeks of action and should be back in time for the Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid, so that’s no big deal.
But the next Three the injuries are huge: Jana Fernández, Paredes’ immediate replacement in central defense and a player enjoying her best form of the season, suffered a torn cruciate ligament in his right knee and will not only miss the rest of this season but the start of the next campaign. It’s the second ACL injury for a Barca player this season, with young striker Bruna Vilamala suffering one last November, which also ended a promising start to the campaign.
And on Friday we learned that Asisat Oshoala and Mariona Caldentey, the two second-half scorers in last week’s win over Athletic and two crucial elements of the attack, will miss the next 10 weeks due hamstring injuries sustained while on international duty.
Mariona had just returned from a long spell on the sidelines with injury and was going to use the next two weeks playing for Spain to regain her fitness, but suffered a more serious injury instead. Oshoala, one of the healthiest members of Barca’s goal-scoring squad in 2022, picked up an injury in training with Nigeria and will also be running out of time.
If the two manage to return within the 10-week estimate, Mariona and Oshoala will be available for a possible Champions League final if Barca manage to get there. But it won’t be easy for Jonatan Giráldez to deal with the absences of these two over the next two months. Without them, only Caroline Graham Hansen, Lieke Martens, Jenni Hermoso and Fridolina Rolfö are currently available in attack and must have their minutes managed very carefully to avoid a crisis in attack.
Luckily, the league title is already won and keeping the players healthy will be more important than a perfect record, so the Champions League can easily be the priority for the coach and the team. But injuries are never fun and our best wishes go to Irene, Jana, Asisat and Mariona.