Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid - Match Preview and Prediction
Real Madrid will be looking forward to making a six-point gap at the top of the La Liga table when they host the Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu stadium, tonight.
The Los Blancos are the league leaders with a three-point gap with the second-placed Barcelona, while Diego Simeone’s side are on the fifth spot with 36 points from 21 games.
Zidane’s side will be entering the match with a brilliant run of games, winning seven out of seven. They have already defeated their opponents on penalties in the final of the Super Copa de Espana, which was earlier this month and since then they have won four games in all competitions.
The Los Blancos shuffled their squad in the recent Copa Del Rey tie but the Spanish side were too strong for their opponents with Lucas Vasquez and Vinicius Junior among the goal scorers at the Estadio de la Romareda.
Barcelona lost 2-0 last weekend agains Valencia, which helped the Los Blancos in becoming the league leaders with small lead. Real struggled too in their fixture but a late Nacho Fernandez header helped Zidane's side in continuing their winning streak. They have a chance to make it a six-point lead as Barcelona are out of action until Sunday.
Real Madrid have been very impressive losing only once in 21 league games with a defeat to Mallorca away on October 19. In fact, the Santiago Bernabeu outfit have not lost in any competition since then and also are a part of the Champions League knockout stage this season.
Atletico, on the other hand, will enter the game with four consecutive winless fixtures in all competitions. They still have to win after beating Barcelona in a dramatic clash, winning 3-2 in the semi-finals of the Super Cup. Atletico have been off since then losing to Real in the finals then losing away to Eibar in the league on January 18 and against Cultural Leonesa in the Copa Del Rey on January 23.
Atletico hoped to get back to winning ways against Leganes last weekend but it ended with a goalless draw at Wanda Metropolitano. This means Atletico now have won nine, drawn nine and lost three from the 21 matches. In recent years, Atletico have bragged their defensive record throughout the season but that is not the case this season.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, have conceded only 13 goals in their 21 matches while Atletico have conceded 14. Real are also the second-leading scorers in the league behind Barcelona while Atletico have managed only 22. Only Leganes, Real Valladolid, Celta Vigo, Espanyol and Eibar have managed to score fewer, which reflects the poor form of Simeone’s side.
Alvaro Morata has seven league goals but Joao Felix and Angel Correa have just five between them. Diego Costa’s injury has had a huge impact on the team as the team is failing to do any quality stuff in the final third this season.
The Rojiblancos have a good record at the Bernabeu, though, picking up three wins and three draws from their last six league visits.
Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio are making progress in their recoveries from ankle and knee problems respectively but both will be out of the weekend’s clash. Dani Carvajal is back after serving a one-game suspension this weekend while Gareth Bale will probably also not feature in the game.
Ferland Mendy, Rodrygo Goes and Luka Modric were all rested in the Copa Del Rey clash and hence are expected to make a return. Federico Valverde could also miss the game because of Lucas Vasquez, who would be making it in the squad after impressing on Wednesday night.
Atletico Madrid will be without Diego Costa, Thomas Lemar and Koke, Joao Felix will be missing through a muscular injury while Vitolo will be featuring again. Hopefully! Kieran Trippier and Jose Gimenez are also doubts and hence Felipe and Sime Vrsaljko will start alongside Renan Lodi and Stefan Savic. The midfield will be featuring Hector Herrera, Saul Niguez and Thomas Partey as reported.
Karim Benzema v Felipe
Karim Benzema is in phenomenal form this season, firing 12 goals and providing five assists in 20 games. However, Real isn't at a comfortable position and can't risk of losing this fixture, which means the Frenchman will be eyeing to score more and grab a victory in this crucial fixture.
Felipe has featured 16 times out of 21, starting in 15 of them and has scored a goal too. With zero errors leading to a goal, the clash will be challenging for both the players. The two players will try their best to get better of each other.
Sergio Ramos v Alvaro Morata
A strong Real Madrid defense will be trying to be at their best, the way they have been in the league and with Morata attacking Ramos earlier in training when the former was at Real. The skipper will have a strong plan to stop the Atletico’s leading league scorer with seven goals.
Morata will also try to recollect and find out weaknesses when he goes head-to-head against the Spain national team captain and let’s see how they both fare.
Real Madrid have failed to beat Atletico on home soil in the league since December 2012. The Los Rojiblancos have a good record at the Bernabeu, though, picking up three wins and three draws from their last six league visits.
Zidane’s side are the definite favorites but Simeone has proved before that his teams can trouble in-form sides. The absence of strikers, however, can again create issues for the visitors and with Benzema back in side, Real are looking much strong.
So, after considering everything, I believe that Real Madrid will breach the defensive line of Atletico and find the back of the net once. While the Los Rojiblancos will fail to get back goals as they don't have resources to get past the rock-solid back line of the Los Blancos.
Predicted score: Real Madrid 2 - 0 Atletico Madrid