It’s here – the Madrid Derby is back. One of the most exciting games in the country is set to return, with both sides coming into these games in utterly imperious form. With 5 wins on the spin each in the league, Real Madrid host their less storied neighbours knowing that they need to keep the wins coming if they want to finally get their hands on the league title once again. Atletico, though, know that they could play the role of the ultimate party poopers.
In seasons gone by, this may have been a game barely worth covering. Real Madrid used to tear up Atletico and use them for toilet paper; that’s no longer the case. Atletico are renewed in the derby under the Diego Simeone era, and that could just continue here. It’s hard to call who is the more likely to win here – with both in such fine form, it feels harsh to expect that either will come crashing down when this one kicks off.
The one thing that does swing the game, though, is the injury list. While Los Blancos are a mere player short of what they need to compete in Raphael Varane, Atletico have a much longer headache to deal with when it comes to injuries. Sime Vrsaljko, Tiago, Augustio Fernandez, Kevin Gameiro, Nico Gaitan and Miguel Angel Moya are all casualties for this one.
It’s likely, though, that Madrid will go back to their full-strength side following an easy midweek win. This means that, even without Varane, they should be able to boast a side with plenty of derby wins in the past. Add in the fact that Kevin Gameiro is likely to be out for the Mattress Makers, and it’s likely that Fernando Torres will start up top. In what is likely to be his last season in the red and white, can El Nino sign off with a winner at the Bernabeu?
The revival of Atletico – and Koke – has come through the midfielder moving to the left-hand side of the pitch. Felipe Luis makes a fine dovetail for him, which will mean that Madrid will need to do plenty of defending down that side. It’s likely that young Saul will continue in the middle of the park, while Jose Gimenez is likely to miss out once again for Stefan Savic.
Coming into this one, then, it’s hard to know who is going to come out with the points. We would not be surprised to see a high-octane score draw, in truth. Atletico are looking at the best they have all season and it would be no surprise to see them get a draw in a match that would help derail the Madrid title express.
We’re going for a 2-2 – with Griezmann to open the scoring, and Cristiano Ronaldo to score at some stage, too!