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Real Madrid's season could be decided by their form while Barcelona are without the injured Lionel Messi; When you consider the impact Messi had coming off the bench against Atletico Madrid, it is clear that the Nou Camp club could struggle without him.

Byline: Ed Malyon

Real Madrid's season will likely be decided by their form while Lionel Messi is out injured.

Barcelona showed signs of being able to survive without their Argentine talisman, albeit against newly-promoted Las Palmas.

But when you consider the impact Messi had coming off the bench against Atletico Madrid, it is clear that the Nou Camp club could struggle in the tougher games without the world's finest player.

While Barca don't have the most testing fixture list over the next eight weeks, with a trip to Sevilla and a home game against current leaders Villarreal the toughest games, Madrid will have their title credentials examined.

First, Rafa Benitez's men head across the city to face rivals Atletico. They also have to go to Vigo, where Barca were smashed 4-1 on Wednesday night by Eduardo Berizzo's impressive Celta side. And the week before hosting Barcelona in el clasico, Madrid visit Sevilla.

READ MORE: Messi could be fit for el clasico.

Luis Enrique 's side have been given their away games against Atletico and Real Madrid in the first half of the season, meaning that they have a slightly easier run of fixtures in the New Year as well as the ability to sign new players and register summer arrivals Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan.

Which all means Real Madrid must build up a buffer before Christmas, and Messi's injury has given them the best chance they'll ever have of doing that.

Gameweek Opposition

Gameweek Opposition

Who will win the title?

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Title Annotation:Sport,Football,News
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 28, 2015
Words:251
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