The severe weather that has hit Europe in recent weeks took a heavy toll on the women’s football fixture lists across the continent, with numerous matches postponed after falling victim to the icy conditions. Key contests in France and Italy were hit, while in England all 16 FA Women’s Cup Fourth Round fixtures were postponed. It was a similar tale in Belgium and the Netherlands, where the entire round was delayed for a future date.

Despite the challenging environment, there was significant top-of-the-table action in France, Italy and Spain as examines in this week’s abbreviated round-up.

Spain’s Women's Superliga: Shock loss for title aspirants
Barcelona’s hopes of a maiden title in Spain suffered a blow after falling to their first defeat of the season. Reigning champions Rayo Vallecano have endured an erratic campaign but their 3-2 victory over the Catalans may be the catalyst to belatedly kick-start their season. The result may have meant despair for Barcelona, but it was a godsend for second-placed Athletic Bilbao, who moved level on points at the top, thanks to a one-sided 7-2 win over Real Sociedad. Espanyol stayed on the trail of the leading pair with a 3-1 victory over Valencia, as all nine matches took place in Spain despite the disruptions elsewhere in Europe.
Top three: Barcelona (55), Athletic Bilbao (55), Espanyol (51)

France’s Division 1 Feminine: Red-hot frontrunners defy the cold
The weather forced the postponement of four of the six matches in France, including that of erswhile league leaders Olympique Lyon, with rivals Juvisy taking full advantage to seize top spot. The club from the outskirts of Paris took a while to find their form on a freezing pitch against midtable Guingamp. However, after holding a 1-0 half-time margin, goals from captain Sandrine Soubeyrand and Les Bleues striker Gaetane Thiney sealed the win and established a three-point gap at the summit. Three points off second-placed Lyon are Montpellier who, after falling behind to an early goal, overpowered Henin-Beaumont 5-1, with Marie-Laure Delie bagging a double. The win lifted Montpellier five points clear of Paris Saint-Germain.
Top three: FCF Juvisy (57), Olympique Lyon (54), Montpellier HSC (52)

Italy’s Femminile Serie A: Championship race hots up
It was a similar story further south in Italy, where the weather played havoc with the schedule to the advantage of the second-placed team. Bardolino Verona bounced back from a shock defeat last weekend – just their second of the season – to beat Como 2-1, with national team star Melania Gabbiadini bagging the winner. The victory lifted the four-time champions two points clear of Sassari Torres, whose match was one of four called off. Third-placed ACF Brescia were also forced to cool their heels with their visit to Lazio Roma unable to be played, allowing UPC Tavagnacco to move just a point behind courtesy of a 2-0 win over ACF Milan.
Top three: Bardolino Verona (31), Sassari Torres (29), ACF Brescia (29)