All roads lead to the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Saturday night as Real Madrid welcome their cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid for the first instalment of their derby in the capital.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane was under tremendous pressure ahead of their final Champions League game against German side Borussia Monchengladbach, with the 13 times champions staring at possible elimination from the group stage of the competition for the first time in their history. He navigated the challenge in style, winning 2-0 on the night to not only make it to the round of 16, but completely turn the tables and go into that next round as group leaders.
The Spanish champions seem to be putting behind their inconsistent start to the season. They have now won their last two straight games against credible opposition in the form of Sevilla and Monchengladbach.
The Madrid derby is always significant. This one seems more so as Atletico are making a serious assault on the La Liga title. Real have a chance to at the very least slow down their momentum.
Atletico are in cruise control in the Spanish top flight. They have are undefeated to start the season and have won their last seven straight games in the division to lead the league with 26 points from their 10 games, a point clear and with a game in hand over second-placed Real Sociedad. They have actually won their last four league games while keeping clean sheets, including a 1-0 win over Barcelona, which underlined their title credentials this season.
Simeone has built a solid team that has totally bought into his philosophy. He will be happy to have Luis Suarez back into the team following his recovery from the viral infection. He has a realistic chance of lifting the first La Liga since the 2013-14 season if he can maintain this momentum.
This is an incredibly difficult game to call either way. Atletico are playing well and are deservedly topping the charts at the moment. Real Madrid, meantime, despite starting slowly, have shown signs of getting back to form with their impressive back-to-back wins. They are only six points behind their rivals, although Atletico have a game in hand. Simeone’s team have the best defence in the league, conceding just two goals in their 10 games. He is likely to be content with a point here and he will set his team up to do just that. We expect a tight game with limited scoring opportunities either way and we are backing Under 2.5 goals @ 1.68 with 22Bet as our initial betting tip.
It goes without saying there is no love lost between these bitter rivals. Bragging rights and the fight for the league title are very much at play in this clash. Previous derbies have always been hotly contested, physical and oftentimes bad-tempered. In light of the current settings, the ingredients are certainly there for another highly-charged encounter. Referee Antonio Lahoz will likely have a hectic time dealing with cynical challenges and enhanced physicality expected here and we are backing Over 4.5 bookings @ 1.41 with 22Bet bookmaker review as our final tip here.
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