The first Madrid derby of the season will at the same time be the first-ever to be played at impressive Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
With both rivals out of pace in the La Liga race, the forthcoming highly-anticipated match could also be the game that rules Real Madrid out of the title defence following their most recent slump.
It’s not often that you see Atletico Madrid struggle for form as dearly as this season. Having moved to their new stadium, Los Colchineros have yet to adapt to the new surroundings and four-match winless run at home ground is there to attest it.
Diego Simeone’s men are coming off from three consecutive 1-1 draw both in La Liga and Champions League, respectively, and will be urged to get back to winning ways. There will hardly have a better chance to do so than in a game against their fierce rivals Real Madrid. The timing of the game is also right with international break now over. Diego Simeone himself is standing under the spotlight ahead of the big match. The temperamental tactician’s motivation is waning and it seems to have spilled over to the players themselves who seemingly lack the recognizable grit in their performances.
The fact Atletico Madrid are forced to do without influential first-team stars Yannick Carrasco and Koke has only made things more problematic for Simeone. The Argentine tactician is likely to be without Filipe Luis as well, although the former Chelsea defender is slowly getting back to full fitness.
Tied on points with their city rivals, Real Madrid are trailing leaders Barcelona by huge eight points. Two defeats and as many draws after 11 La Liga rounds is a record that pleases no one at Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane is slowly beginning to feel the heat.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez – as a man who likes to be directly involved in his club’s dealings – is said to be disappointed by Zidane’s lack of transfer activity and is currently far from being pleased with the results. And with the latest reports of Cristiano Ronaldo being unhappy, Los Blancos are in real trouble ahead of the most important match thus far in the season. Real Madrid bounced back from a surprising 2-1 defeat at the hands of lowly Girona with a comfortable 3-0 win over Las Palmas but there is likely to be nothing comfortable about their trip to the nearby new stadium. Real Madrid won only one of their last eight games at Atletico with Diego Simeone holding the upper hand on Zidane.
Mateo Kovacic remains sidelined through injury together with first-team star Gareth Bale whose injury is raising a huge concern at Real Madrid. Keylor Navas is ruled out through a groin injury, whereas Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal are still way off from getting back in the squad.
We are definitely expecting to see a high-electricity clash between two of Spain’s biggest rivals who are getting ready to add another chapter to their fierce rivalry. Both sides will be extremely keen to win and kick-start their respective campaign after the international break but we don’t see anything separating the two sides at the moment.
Top pick: Draw 3.50 (5/2) @Bet365
Alternative pick 1: Under 2.5 goals 1.91 (10/11) @Betfair
Alternative pick 2: Both teams to score – No 2.20 (6/5) @BetVictor