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Why Barcelona cannot afford to lose against Atletico Madrid

Barcelona have a tough fixture against Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
Barcelona have a tough fixture against Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
Modified 21 Nov 2020, 17:12 IST

Barcelona have an important fixture ahead of them as they face Atletico Madrid in the La Liga at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.

The Blaugrana have been very inconsistent this season, but their results have improved in the last couple of weeks. Barcelona are yet to taste defeat since losing to Real Madrid in the El Clasico on October 24th.

The side have recorded impressive wins against Juventus, Dynamo Kyiv and Real Betis since losing to their rivals. However, the clash against Atletico Madrid could have an impact on the team's fortunes this season.

Barcelona are currently eighth in the La Liga table, five points behind Real Madrid and six points below Atletico Madrid. The Spanish side are also nine points behind league leaders Real Sociedad.

Their position in the league table makes this weekend’s game a must-win for the Catalans. Anything less than a win will see their rivals widen the gap between them and the top half of the table.

One of the reasons why Barcelona failed to win the league last season was their wobbly form following the COVID-19 break. While Real Madrid maintained their consistency after the league resumed, the Blaugrana dropped valuable points.

Being nine points behind the league leaders after just nine matches is not something that Barcelona are used to. Ronald Koeman and his side cannot afford a repeat of the same in the current campaign. The manager knows this will be a good game and acknowledged how competitive Diego Simeone's side is.

“It is worth noting the good work of [Diego] Simeone. He has maintained a competitive team for many years,” Koeman said ahead of Saturday’s crunch tie, as quoted by Forbes.
“[But] we trust ourselves. They have significant casualties, but so do we. The two teams arrive well and it will be a good match," predicted the Barcelona manager.

Atletico Madrid have proved to be tough customers for Barcelona in recent years and the Rojiblancos will give their rivals a good fight when the two sides meet. In a week that has been dominated by headlines about an alleged rift between Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona can make a statement by winning the fixture.

If the team deliver anything less than that, the media is bound to feed on the negativity that has surrounded the issue, especially after Messi gave an angry response when asked to confirm or deny his alleged rift with Griezmann.

Whichever way you look at it, Barcelona are in dire need of a win to keep themselves in the race for the La Liga title. Ronald Koeman will have to get his tactics right and make sure the team don't drop points when they face Atletico Madrid.

Published 21 Nov 2020, 17:12 IST
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