La Liga has presented to us some of the most enthralling and fascinating matches of 2021 so far. First of all, it started off with a thriller title-race which persisted right till the last day of the championship with Real and Atletico separated by a mere point only after the completion of the whole season as well as some excellent enticing matches at the start of 2021-22 season till now. We have some mouth-watering clashes waiting for us in the upcoming weeks with one such high-voltage game taking place tonight. High-flying Los Blancos lock horns with defending champions and arch-rivals Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid is on a roll since the start of the season sitting atop the table in La Liga. They have also qualified for the knockouts of the UCL quite handsomely as group toppers after beating Inter last match-day. No wonder that before the Christmas break commences, they would want to sit comfortably at the top. And for that, they need to get the better of Atletico tomorrow to go 8 points clear at the top.
Atletico, on the other hand, has endured a bad start to the season this year. They are fourth on the table with 29 points, 7 points off the top. After beating Porto somehow, they are through to the knockouts of the UCL along with Liverpool. To salvage their season, they need a string of good results now to bail themselves out of this difficult situation. Certainly, they’ll be looking to go all out to win this all-important clash tomorrow to revive their year.
Let’s see who can hold their nerves till the end of such a big match and can come out unscathed.
Why to watch out for
The El-Derbi Madrileno is one of the greatest and oldest rivalries in the history of world football. It dates back to the year 1906 when the first game was played out between the two sides. Madrid won the match 2-1 and it was the slow start of their dominance against their next-door rivals ever since. Over the years, the Real vs Atletico clashes have proved out to be much exciting and engrossing than any-other fixtures. From the famous 92:48 equalizer of Sergio Ramos in the 2013-14 UCL final to the devastating Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick that floored Atletico in 2017, we have all these glorious moments etched up in the minds.
It’s time to witness more action-packed El-Derbi Madrilenos with Real and Atletico both growing stronger than ever. With all the elements of excitement in it, there is absolutely no reason you should miss this great sporting spectacle. This match will be a historic 213th official meeting between the two parts of Madrid. Tighten up your seat belts and get ready to watch the Madrid derby from 1:30 AM onwards on 13th December.
The Los Blancos are coming onto this big game on the back of a comfortable and convincing win at the Reale Arena against Real Sociedad last weekend. It was nevertheless a big victory for the Madrid side who kept a second consecutive clean sheet. The most satisfying part was the comeback Madrid made after the break-even after they lost Benzema in the first half. Vinicius Junior broke the deadlock just after halftime from a good Jovic assist. Moments after, Jovic himself netted his first goal of the season and doubled their lead. It was a decent display from the Madrid giants who didn’t have much possession but made 8 out of 14shots on target.
To win against Atletico, they definitely need to improve their game in many aspects. The positive side is that they have only conceded 1 goal in their last five games across all competitions. They are on a 5 game winning streak in La Liga and 7 games in all competitions. It remains to be seen now whether the Blancos can take their best play out of themselves and defeat Atletico at home.
FORM GUIDE – WWWWW (ALL COMPETITIONS)
Real Madrid is in big trouble before the Atleti game today. They are sweating over the fitness of their star captain Karim Benzema who suffered a muscle injury against Sociedad. He faces a race against the run of time to be fit in time before the match. A last-minute call will be taken on the player’s availability in the match by the team management. Gareth Bale has returned to training and he could feature in the team list. Dani Ceballos remains to be on the sidelines though. Apart from these few, Ancelotti has a full squad to choose his starting XI from.
Key Players for Los Blancos
The Brazilian has turned out to be the poster boy of the Madrid-based club within the space of a few months. His impeccable dribbling and on-field creativity make him an invaluable gem for the side. His sky-rocketing stats are a testimony of what kind of form Vinicius Junior is in. Having 12 goals and 5 assists in only 21 appearances is nothing short of a miracle. His tracking back and helping the defense have earned praise from many pundits. In the probable absence of Benzema, he will spearhead the Madrid attack. Against Atletico, he will once again be the main man to break down Atletico’s defense and create goalscoring chances.
With the departure of Madrid’s star Central defensive duo of Ramos and Varane, dark clouds loomed over the skies of Bernabeu about who would shoulder the responsibilities after them. Then came a youngster in the form of Eder Militao who just established himself as the pillar in defense. His performance since last year has been phenomenal, and this bears testimony to the fact that he’s been dropped only once since then. The Brazilian has developed a long way from being labeled as a “flop” to being called the next generational star. His stats in every match for the Blancos prove how much he is decisive for them. Militao’s contribution in attack, aerial prowess, excellent tackling capabilities, and anticipatory power makes him a vital cog in the starting XI. Against Atletico, Militao will shoulder the responsibilities of stopping Grizzy and co. once again.
HEAD TO HEAD
This game will mark the 228th occasion of the Madrid Derby in all competitions and 169th such in the LaLiga. In both cases, Madrid is well ahead of their fierce rivals with a clear gap separating the two. Ancelotti’s team has registered 112 wins among all the total contested while Atletico has won a mere 56. About 59 encounters have ended in a stalemate between the two.
The most recent meeting between the two sides in last year’s LaLiga in March failed to produce any result. Former Barcelona man Suarez broke the deadlock as early as in the 14th min to give a lead to the Red-and-Whites. Benzema’s late stunner in the 88th minute salvaged a point for the Blancos and saved them from an inevitable defeat. Let’s see who will leave the ground with a happy face this time after the clash tonight.
• Atletico are win-less in their last seven Madrid derbies, their worst run under present coach Simeone. They have even lost three of their last five derbies.
• Real Madrid have maintained an awesome unbeaten run in their last five home games against Atletico, winning two and drawing three in the process.
• Only three of the last 33 Madrid derbies have ended goalless, so expect a goal-fest to take place. • Atletico’s last victory at the Bernabeu came six years back in 2016, a 1-0 win courtesy of a Griezmann goal.
The Los Rojiblancos are also missing out on some key players on their trip to Bernabeu owing to injuries. Their main man Luis Suarez might be missing this clash due to his muscular injury. Other than him, Kieran Trippier and Stefan Savic also remain unavailable for selection due to various problems. Matheus Cunha could well be given the nod ahead of Felix in the double striker please alongside Griezmann. Except for these few ones, Atletico will also get all of their players available.
Key Players for Colchoneros
The former Barcelona man returned to his parent club in the last hours of the deadline day in summer. Though he failed to turn up for Barcelona much, he returned back to his usual best in Atletico colors. He has registered 7 goals and 2 assists already this season for the Los Colchoneros. His shooting capabilities, poaching instincts, and onfield creativity is invaluable asset for his side. He contributes well in an attack by creating spaces and helps in defense by tracking back. Griezmann will be eager to prove his worth once again in big matches by scoring for his side tonight.
RODRIGO DE PAUL
The Argentine maestro is rated as one of the most influential midfielders in the world right now. His bodily presence in the midfield for Atletico has helped them well afar. DePaul is one of the most consistent players in the Atletico squad and has been a standout performer for them. His contribution can’t only be adjudged by his stats on the scoreboard. He has bold control over the midfield and maintains a swift balance between offense and defense. DePaul’s visionary prowess helps him in delivering precise long-balls as well as defense-splitting passes. His duel with Kroos in the center of the park could well be the decisive factor in the game. Now, it is to be seen whether he can produce another stellar show tonight.
In all respects, this game is going to be an enticing and eventful one from all respects. History beckons Madrid in this topsy-turvy conflict between the two sides. Atletico Madrid also has dished out good shows in big stages when it mattered the most. The desperateness of both the teams adds more charm to this already bewitching encounter. Expect a fierce encounter to get underway at a magical Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night!! We can hope for a fiery end-to-end action to unfold between the two city rivals!!
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