The first massive game of the La Liga season has arrived, and it comes in the form of a Madrid derby. Atletico Madrid will make the journey across the Spanish capital to take on the Los Blancos at the legendary Santiago Bernabeu stadium. Both teams have been a fairly good form in the run up to this clash, but on results alone, one would have to look at Atletico as favourites.
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Coming into the game, the home side haven’t looked convincing all the time. The dubious win against Elche in midweek aside, they have dropped points before as well this campaign. The 2-2 draw with Villareal was a poor reflection of the dominance of the Yellow Submarine. However, it’s not all gloom and doom at Real Madrid. The team has played some excellent football at times, and Ronaldo has gotten valuable help from the likes of Isco. With Gareth Bale also expected to return to the starting line-up for this crunch tie, one can expect Ancelotti to put out a strong side for the derby.
Atletico, of course have been flawless this season. They have a perfect record, with 6 wins from their 6 games. In mid-week, Simeone put out a weaker side against Osasuna with one eye on the derby, but it didn’t really matter, as his team ran out 2-1 winners. They look like they’re in confident mood, after ending their Real-hoodoo by winning the Copa Del Rey, beating Real for the first time this millennium in the process. Simeone has been instrumental to their success. The spine of the team also looks strong, with the impressive Miranda partnering Godin in defence. Going forward too, they’re no slobs, with the classy Arda Turan complementing joint top scorer, Diego Costa, and joint highest assist provider Koke. In the midst of all that, it’s often easy to forget that the line is led by the classy David Villa.
Tactically, one can expect Real to attack, as the pressure is on them to beat their rivals. With the team at his disposal, it would also make sense for Carlo to put out an attacking side. The pace and power of players like Bale and Ronaldo will obviously play a part, but the midfield battle will be crucial. The Atleti have proven their competence in this department several times, and it would be foolish for Ancelotti to ignore this area. Simeone will probably look to play his usual high energy, power packed style to hit Real on the break. Coentrao has just returned from injury, and Carvajal hasn’t always looked convincing. Arda Turan might be the key man going forward for Atletico today.
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