It’s here – one of the fiercest and most closely contested games in Europe. While for the best part of 20 years this was not the case, Diego Simeone helped to revive Atletico and in the process turned them into a bit of a bogy team for Los Blancos. This weekend, though, we don’t really know what to expect!
In the past, an Atletico win would have felt almost a given under Simeone. Now, it feels like we’ve slowly creeped back into the days when Real would win just about every derby. 2 wins in their last six meetings is a poor return for Atletico, and it’s clear that the psychological impact of both sides coming up against each other has returned.
For Atletico at least there is no great injury concern – only Diego Costa, who has not yet joined the club is missing. For the away side, injuries to Gareth Bale and the long-term absence of Dani Carvajal will hurt them in the wide areas. Keylor Navas, too, is likely to miss out so Atletico will hope to capitalize on the jittery play of Kiko Casilla.
Atletico will be likely to keep their ‘tried and tested’ forward Angel Correa – the only one who has shown up so far this year – up top, while we expect Koke to get back into his usual midfield slot on the right.
This promises to be a wonderful game, with Atletico unbeaten and Madrid absolutely desperate for a result at the moment. Consecutive defeats left Madrid reeling but if there is any game in the world that they know how to win, it’s this.
Winless in four and with a poor record at their new home, it would be no surprise to see Atletico’ rather dubious unbeaten record come to an end this weekend. Madrid are simply too strong, and we don’t expect an Atletico side under such a cloud to come out of this looking good.