The standout clash in gameweek 12 of the Spanish La Liga will see Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid do battle at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on Saturday. Los Blancos are top of the table on 27 points while Atleti are in fifth place on 21 points. Atletico are unbeaten in nine domestic games against their local rivals, winning five times. However, Real have defeated them in two Champions League finals.
Spanish La Liga | Saturday 19 November | Vicente Calderon Stadium | 21:45
To Win (90 mins)
Atletico Madrid 27/20 | Draw 23/10 | Real Madrid 2/1
Atletico Madrid are six points behind their illustrious neighbours and Diego Simeone’s side will be desperate to trim the gap. The last game between these sides was the Champions League final which Zidane’s side won, so this is Atletico’s first chance for revenge.
Los Rojiblancos have won six of their 11 games played this season with three draws and two defeats – both away from home. While they’ve struggled on the road, Simeone’s side have been impressive on home soil. They’ve won four out of five matches at the Vicente Calderon, drawing once. Los Rojiblancos have scored 18 goals at home – the most goals scored at home in La Liga – while conceding four.
Atletico have been on a sensational unbeaten run domestically against Real, but that record is in danger as they could be without their star player Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman took a knock to his foot during his country’s 2-1 win over Sweden last Friday and he will now face a fitness race this week ahead of Saturday's Madrid derby. The forward told Spanish newspaper Marca after the game that he would do everything he could to be fit for the weekend. "It's not too serious," he said. "But I have to work morning, afternoon and night to be ready."
If Griezmann doesn’t play, Fernando Torres is likely to take his place in the starting lineup alongside Kevin Gameiro. Torres is a proven goalscorer who knows how to make his mark on football’s biggest occasions. Gameiro and Yannick Carrasco are other attacking threats that will look exploit Real’s defensive frailties (more on that later). The pair are level on five goals each in La Liga, one behind the club’s top scorer Griezmann.
Real Madrid have been outstanding in La Liga thus far having won eight of their 11 games played. They remain the only unbeaten side in Spain's top-flight and are top of the table, two points above Barcelona and six ahead of Atletico Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane’s side have been lethal in front of goal, scoring 31 goals, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale the joint top scorers for Real in La Liga with five goals each. Los Blancos have been good on their travels this season, picking up 13 points from a possible 15, scoring 17 goals while conceding four.
Zidane’s side recorded a comfortable 3-0 win at home to newly-promoted Leganes prior to the international break, which extended their winning streak in La Liga to four matches. Bale netted a brace in the first half and Alvaro Morata added the third in the final 15 minutes.
While Real have been in free-scoring form, their defence has struggled. Zidane’s side are conceding goals regularly, having kept just one clean sheet in 11 matches across all competitions. To make matters even more worrying, Zidane will be without his first-choice defence ahead of the derby.
Sergio Ramos is a doubt with a knee injury, while Pepe is expected to miss the clash with a hamstring injury he sustained last month. Real have other injury concerns with Toni Kroos ruled out, while Morata, Casemiro and Karim Benzema are all doubts – Zidane will be sweating over their fitness.
Los Blancos haven’t won at the Vicente Calderon in their last five attempts – losing three times. They’ll be desperate to beat Atleti on Saturday, which will see them go nine points above their city rivals. Zidane has a world-class squad at his disposal with phenomenal attacking stars like Ronaldo and Bale who are unplayable on their day.
Verdict: Draw (23/10)
This is a match Atletico Madrid can’t afford to lose as they’ll fall nine points behind in the title race. Simeone’s side are a very tough team at the Calderon, but Los Blancos have been outstanding on their travels. I’m expecting a close affair with the teams tipped to share the spoils at 23/10.
Written by Chadley Nagel @Hollywoodbets