La Liga leaders Real Madrid take on cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid, with both teams aiming for supremacy in the Madrid derby.

Diego Simeone will be eager to prove a point in the upcoming Madrid derby on home soil as he looks to close the gap on their weekend’s opponents. Atletico Madrid already trail Real Madrid by five points this season but could close the gap to two with a win.

Despite a solid start to the current campaign, Atletico have fallen off the grid in recent weeks. Their loss to Villarreal certainly derailed the ongoing momentum Simeone had, having seen his side collect 10 points out of a possible 15 after five rounds of fixtures.

Last time out, Atletico won against Celta Vigo comprehensively. The clash with Real Madrid will be a challenge worth considering for the home side, who want to be considered among the challengers this season. Another slip-up would see their rivals extend the points gap over them, which may hurt Simeone’s side in the long run.

Real Madrid have started the season superbly by recording five wins out of five in the opening games. South American trio Federico Valverde, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior helped the team breeze past Espanyol last week. They kept their 100% record in the Champions League midweek, beating RB Leipzig 2-0 at the Bernabeu.

Carlo Ancelotti will be happy with his team’s performances despite missing the services of talisman Karim Benzema. However, the Italian will be wary of Barcelona, who are breathing down Real Madrid’s neck in second place, as the Catalans could temporarily go ahead of them in the table if they manage a win over Elche.

Madrid will be hopeful of not dropping their levels when facing city rivals Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano. As things stand, Real may have the momentum going into this clash and could be considered favourites, but Simeone has traditionally proved a tough opponent to get past.

Team News & Tactics

Atletico Madrid

Simeone may end up ruing the timing of this fixture considering the key injuries he has within the squad. First-team stars like Thomas Lemar, Jan Oblak, Sergio Reguilon, Stefan Savic and Jose Gimenez are set to miss out. The defensive absences could force the manager to play an indifferent backline for such a key game.

Ivo Grbic will continue between the sticks in place of Oblak, while Simeone could use a back three consisting of Axel Witsel, Reinaldo and Mario Hermoso. Hence, Yannick Carrasco could become an option in the left wing-back slot, while Nahuel Molina is the favourite to start on the right flank.

Marcos Llorente, Koke and Rodrigo De Paul could form the midfield setup for Atletico. Simeone also has Saul Niguez as an option, although the midfielder will likely remain on the bench.

Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata are expected to start up front as Simeone continues to line up with two strikers in the forward line. Antoine Griezmann continues to be used as a bench option, along with Angel Correa.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2)Grbic; Witsel, Hermoso, Reinildo; Molina, Llorente, Koke, De Paul, Carrasco; Morata, Felix

Real Madrid

Ancelotti will be eager to see Benzema back on the pitch soon, as the Frenchman remains on the sidelines with a fitness issue. In his absence, the likes of Rodrygo and Vinicius have taken on the mantle to score the goals, as the Brazilian duo will continue to feature in the attack.

Eder Militao is back in full training after missing the last two games. If the Brazilian is fully fit, Ancelotti could have a selection headache to include Militao in the starting lineup. If that happens, Antonio Rudiger could make way. Alternatively, the manager could continue with the German and David Alaba’s partnership.

Lucas Vazquez is a big doubt for the visitors, although the winger is no longer an automatic starter. Aurelien Tchouameni will continue to hold the midfield together and allow the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos to contribute more in the final third.

Rodrygo will likely feature in the false-nine role again, with Vinicius and Valverde on either side of the young Brazilian attacker.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3)Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Tchouameni, Kroos; Valverde, Rodrygo, Vinicius

Key Stats

  • Atletico are undefeated in 34 of their last 38 home matches in La Liga.
  • Atletico have only one victory against Real Madrid since February 2016.
  • Real Madrid are undefeated in 33 of their last 36 away matches in La Liga.
  • Rea l Madrid have scored at least 2 goals in their last 5 matches in La Liga.
  • Real Madrid have won 8 out of 8 competitve games this season.

Player to Watch

Vinicius Junior

It’s been a solid start to the season from Vinicius, with the Brazilian in top form. The clash with Atletico could be the perfect platform to bring the best out of his game. The Brazilian has been thriving at the highest stages and will be able to influence the game entirely on his own.

A solid display would go a long way in shutting some of the unwanted and unwarranted criticism. Moreover, in the continued absence of Benzema, Vinicius has taken up the role of leading the attack.

Prediction

Atletico Madrid 1-2 Real Madrid

It could be one of the classics this season, with Atletico putting in a gritty performance against a fluid Real Madrid team. However, the visitors may have an advantage this time as Simeone has problems at the back.

The indifferent backline has been suspect in some recent games, which could alert Real to the situation. With Vinicius and Rodrygo hitting top form, they might get the better of this Atletico side and continue their 100% run this season.

Comments 1

  1. Conrad angel says:

    Real madrid is God blessed team in the entire world and will go far in the champions League this year
    More coaching wisdom to the manger Carlos Ancellotti

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