Atletico Madrid entertain fierce rivals Real Madrid in Saturday’s derby at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Both clubs have endured average starts to their season by their standards, and this sees them eight points adrift of leaders Barcelona after just 11 matches into the campaign. While Real Madrid have suffered shocking defeats to Real Betis and Girona in the early part of the season, Atleti have been left frustrated by their failure to finish off games. Diego Simeone’s side have shared the spoils in five of their 11 outings this term.
The last outing between the clubs was at the Vicente Calderon where Atleti secured a 2-1 win. Simeone’s men lost the first-leg of the Champions League semi-final by a 3-0 scoreline, and they could not make a comeback despite their best efforts. The club look far-off from making a similar mark this campaign as they are on the cusp of Champions League elimination.
Players to watch for:
Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid: Griezmann’s future has been a topic of speculation in recent months, and this exhibits the progress made by the France international. The 26-year-old has not scored for Atleti since September, and this has played a significant role in Atleti’s run which has included disappointing draws against Qarabag in Europe. Griezmann ended a seven-match goalless streak with a strike for France vs Wales, and Atleti will depend on the Frenchman to make a match-winning impact in the Madrid derby.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid: Likewise, Ronaldo is having a bizarre run with just one goal in seven league outings (ESPN). The Portugal international has had nearly 50 attempts on goal in this period, but just 27 percent of his shots have been on target. The four-time Ballon d’Or winner has not quite found his goalscoring boots in La Liga, but he could play a key part in the derby where a defeat would pretty much end their title prospects.
Atleti have been solid defensively at the Wanda Metropolitano barring the 2-1 Champions League defeat to Chelsea. Expect another resolute performance and a draw.
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Real Madrid
Image – Getty