Table toppers Real Madrid host Atletico Madrid in the Madrid derby, as the pressure cranks up on Diego Simeone ahead of the game
Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid – La Liga
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu
Kick Off: 15:00
TV Channel: La Liga TV
Atletico travel to their cross-city rivals with the pressure mounting on Diego Simeone after a torrid run of results has left his side fifth in La Liga and sent crashing out the Copa Del Rey to lower league opposition.
22 goals in 21 league games has highlighted the issues Atletico have been having and it is evident to see that reinforcements up front in the January window were a necessity, but with no incomings as of Thursday, its hard to see any drastic changes ahead of the Madrid derby for Atletico, and the burned will fall on struggling Alvaro Morata in the search for goals.
The biggest under-performer has been striker Morata, who despite top scoring for Simeone’s side with seven goals, has under-performed his expected goals by 2.87. Alongside him, Angel Correa has struggled in a similar fashion, as has Joao Felix, as Atletico’s build play and inability to break teams down has become very predictable. A reliance on crossing from wide areas, the absence of Trippier has been an issue, and coming up against one of the best defences in the league will certainly worry Simeone further. Drawing a blank in their last two games, the more worrying statistic behind this has been their inability to rack up an expected goals tally above one in both, and Real will be confident of shutting out the opposition once again.
On the other side of Madrid, Zinedine Zidane has overseen a revival for Los Blancos which has put them in pole position in the fight for La Liga, with Atletico struggling and Barcelona in transition under new management. Coping with the loss of star players throughout the season has been crucial, and victory over Real Valladolid last weekend encapsulated this, with Nacho heading home from a corner as they had to be patient against a side who looked to sit deep and frustrate Zidane’s side.
Valladolid offered little threat on the break, however Simeone’s side will be better suited to this threat, and with the impetus on Zidane’s side to come out and dominate, it could see Atletico threaten on the break, and the roles of Morata and Correa up front will be key.
The sides played out an entertaining 0-0 draw in the league earlier this season, whilst it was a similar story in the Super Cup, where the counter attacking nature of Atletico’s attack did see Federico Valverde commit a now famous tactical foul on Joao Felix as he bore down on goal, saving his side from conceding and thus helping them to a penalty victory.
Atletico will be keen to avenge this against Real, but with an expected goals against of both sides sat below one a game, coupled with attacks well suited to be seeing shut out by one another, a tight game can be expected.
Real Madrid will definitely be without Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio, but Gareth Bale could return.
Diego Costa, Thomas Lemar, Koke, Jose Gimenez and Kieran Tripper could all miss out for Atletico.
Head to Head:
Real Madrid Wins: 87
Atletico Madrid Wins: 39
Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last seven derbies against Atletico Madrid, drawing five of the last six
Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last 12 La Liga games, keeping a clean sheet in eight.
Only two of Real Madrid’s last 13 goals in La Liga have been scored by a striker.
La Liga Form:
Real Madrid Last 5: D D W W W
Atletico Madrid Last 5: W W W L D
With the last two meetings between the two sides ending 0-0, and the defences of both sides impressing, it becomes hard to oppose the under 2.5 goals at 3/4 for this tie. Although Real Madrid do possess immense attacking talent, it has been a more pragmatic approach from Zinedine Zidane than in the past, and he will favour a midfield of Valverde and Casemiro ahead of more expansive options, whilst the absence of Hazard is a continued miss. Atletico themselves are struggling to find the net, and will look to sit in and frustrate Real for long periods, so Under 2.5 goals is a particularly appealing option.
Building on this, both teams to score is again easy to oppose with the underlying data, and even if Real are to score, seeing Atletico break down this impressing and compact defence is hard to envisage, so both teams not to score at 10/11 takes an appeal.