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Barcelona face season-defining month after int break with games against Atletico, Porto, Girona



Things in Catalonia have not particularly gone according to plan in recent weeks, as Barcelona are trekking down from a mountain of poor performances. The landscape seemed different not too long ago, though.

Barcelona scored five against Real Betis in La Liga, and followed that with another five goals against Royal Antwerp in the UEFA Champions League. Xavi’s men were flying high, new signings were already making a difference, and the new tactics were working.

However, soon after that, Barcelona were hit by a storm of injuries as Raphinha, Frenkie de Jong, Robert Lewandowski, and Jules Kounde went down injures, leaving the starting lineup severely hampered.

And while Barcelona managed to scrape through several games with the players at their disposal, the last three games have really hit them like a train.

The Catalans put up a strong performance against Real Madrid, but were not able to keep it up for the entire 90 minutes as Jude Bellingham found a way through on two occasions to win them the game.

This was followed up by a truly dreaful performance against Real Sociedad. While they picked up all three points, the team lacked any sort of control, and creativity, which also came to the fore against Shakhtar Donetsk, as they lost 1-0.

Thankfully for Barcelona, Xavi and his coaching staff will have the chance to properly assess the problem over a longer period with the international break set to start after this weekend.

The blaugranes cannot afford any slip-ups after that, though, as the schedule is truly stacked.

Season-defining month: Atletico, Porto, Girona

Immediately after the break, Barça will travel to Madrid to take on Rayo Vallecano, who held Real Madrid to a 0-0 draw.

They will host Porto and Atletico Madrid in the week that follows. These two games have the potential of deciding Barcelona’s fate in the UCL and the league. Atleti, especially, are one of the most in-form teams in the league, sitting two points below Barcelona with a game in hand.

Griezmann is running riot with Atletico this season. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

If that was not enough, a week after facing Diego Simeone’s men, Barça will have to square up against current league leaders Girona.

A trip to Belgium to face Royal Antwerp, and then Valencia will round up this truly terrifying run of fixtures before Xavi can even contemplate rotations.

Eyes on Alaves for now

Before that, though, Barcelona have the task of containing Deportivo Alaves at the Olympic Saint Montjuic this weekend. The Vitoria-Gasteiz outfit have won only three games this season, but have kept a relatively high defence for a team that will likely fight relegation.

Barça have struggled to break down mid and deep blocks this season, and will hope the inclusion of Pedri in the side is able to provide more grip and creative nuance to their midfield.

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