All eyes will be on the Spanish capital on Sunday afternoon as La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid host city rivals Real Madrid in a crunch derby clash at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Spanish La Liga | Sunday 7 March | Wanda Metropolitano | 17:15
To Win Match
Atletico Madrid 17/10
Real Madrid 33/20
Diego Simeone’s men are five points clear of Real Madrid having played a game less and could strike a real blow to Zinedine Zidane’s side’s chances of retaining the La Liga title. But Los Blancos will take confidence from Atletico’s dip in form that has seen Simeone’s men win just two of their six matches in all competitions last month.
While Los Rojiblancos have struggled in recent weeks, Zidane’s side are in an excellent run of form, winning five games in a row in all competitions and have kept four clean sheets. Real are unbeaten in their last nine La Liga meetings against Atletico with four wins and five draws. These sides played out a goalless draw at the Wanda Metropolitano last season, but Los Blancos claimed an emphatic 3-1 victory there the season prior.
Atletico’s last win over Real came in the 2016/17 Champions League with a 2-1 victory at the old Vicente Calderon stadium. But Zidane’s side still had the final say as Los Blancos won 4-2 on aggregate.
Real will look to continue their impressive head-to-head record over Atletico and try to cut their lead at the top of the table to two points, while Simeone’s men aim to pull further away their city rivals as they target a first La Liga title since 2014.
Atletico Madrid will hope to have starting centre-back Jose Gimenez back for the Madrid derby after he missed the Champions League tie with Chelsea following an injury picked up in the defeat to Levante. Yannick Carrasco also remains a major doubt, while Kieran Trippier is still serving his suspension. For Real Madrid, Karim Benzema and Marcelo are set to return to action, but Zidane is likely to be without captain Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Eden Hazard, Fede Valverde, Rodrygo Goes, Alvaro Odriozola and Eder Militao.
Atletico Madrid: 3-4-2-1
Jan Oblak; Hermoso, Gimenez, Savic; Llorente, Koke, Saul, Lemar; Joao Felix, Correa; Suarez.
Real Madrid: 4-3-3
Courtois; Vazquez, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Asensio, Vinicius Jr, Benzema.
Verdict: Real Madrid 37/20
Atletico failed to win a match at the Wanda Metropolitano last month, drawing 2-2 with Celta Vigo before losing 2-0 against Levante last time out. Real, meanwhile, have won their last four matches away from home, including a 1-0 victory over Atalanta in their last-16 first leg. Los Blancos will be confident of claiming maximum points on Sunday and due to Atletico’s recent struggles, I’m backing a win for Zidane’s side.
Written by Chad Nagel