Atletico Madrid make a short trip to their city rivals hoping to extend their fine Santiago Bernabeu record, whereas Real Madrid are keen to tighten the grip on La Liga title chase with only eight games to go.
Real Madrid relying on Ronaldo
The 2-1 defeat at the hands of Valencia earlier in February served as a late wake-up call for Zinedine Zidane’s men, who have since then gone on an eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions. Having secured their place in the closing stages of the Champions League, Los Blancos also managed to sustain their lead on top of La Liga standings and currently look in good position to win the coveted trophy. Zinedine Zidane’s men are two points ahead of their fierce rivals Barcelona, but with a game in hand to the Catalans. The forthcoming match against Atletico Madrid will thus be of great importance for Los Blancos as it would not only provide valuable three points, but a significant morale boost in the finishing stages of the title race. Real Madrid will be hoping to repeat the scenario from the reverse fixture back in December when a single name on the scoresheet earned Los Blancos a huge victory at Vicente Calderon. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick on the occasion and the Euro 2016 winner will be hoping to extend his fine scoring record against Los Rojiblancos, which currently stands at 18 goals.
The hosts will have no major selection issues as Raphael Varane is the only unavailable player due to his muscle injury. Fabio Coentrao is lacking match fitness and will once again be out of contention with Zinedine Zidane.
More than a match for Atletico Madrid
The city rivals Real and Atletico have been making headlines over the past week over the potential transfer of Los Rojiblancos youngster Theo Fernandez, who has been strongly linked with a move to Santiago Bernabeu. Atletico chiefs were reportedly angry at Real Madrid and their willingness to break the unwritten gentleman’s agreement which prevents transfers between two city clubs. The latest development will offer additional motivation for Atletico Madrid to go out to Santiago Bernabeu and put another inspiring performance. Diego Simeone’s men were the last ones to win a La Liga match at Santiago Bernabeu and given their most recent records against the city rivals, there is enough to suggest that Atletico are more than capable of inflicting a huge blow to Real Madrid’s title chances. Simeone’s charges travel up North on the back of a five-match winning streak in La Liga and are once again beginning to resemble that well-oiled title-winning machine three years ago. We should be in for a keenly-contested match that is for sure.
Sime Vrsaljko, Kevin Gameiro and Bernabe Barragan are likely to miss the match at Santiago Bernabeu as they are yet to gain full fitness following their injury problems, whereas Gaitan, Moya and Tiago are the three confirmed absentees.
Duels between the Madrid rivals tend to be low-scoring affairs, but packed with excitement and anxiety. We don’t expect to see too many goals in the game which is why the goals should be the most valuable option to bet on.
Top pick: Under 2.5 goals 2.06 (17/16) @188Bet
Alternative pick 1: Under 1.5 goals 4.00 (3/1) @Coral
Alternative pick 2: Both teams to score – No 2.20 (6/5) @BetVictor