Three talking points ahead of Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid | La Liga | OneFootball

Icon: Madrid Universal

Madrid Universal

·24 September 2023

Three talking points ahead of Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid | La Liga

Article image:Three talking points ahead of Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid | La Liga

Six games, six wins. The story for Real Madrid at the start of the new season could not be sweeter, or so it appears.

However, that could not be further away from the truth. Los Blancos have been lacklustre in most of their wins, finding resources only in the dying minutes of games to take home three points.

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While the fighting spirit is a positive, making a habit of taking games deep certainly is not.

After their nervy win over Union Berlin in the Champions League, Real Madrid face their biggest challenge of the season so far – Atletico Madrid. The game against Diego Simeone’s side kicks off late on Sunday night and could prove to be decisive on the leaderboard.

Carlo Ancelotti and Simeone have enjoyed a hard-fought rivalry over the years as managers with shares almost equally split.

Heading into tonight’s game, the Italian boasts of a mild edge over the Argentine with eight wins in head-to-heads compared to Simeone’s seven.

The head-to-head statistics between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are more skewed, however, with Los Rojiblancos winning just four times to Real Madrid’s nine of the last 20.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points from Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid.

The evergreen derby

Derbies are often the most tasty fixtures in the world of football. Of them, the Madrid derby is one that never loses spice.

Los Blancos and Los Rojiblancos have not seen eye to eye in recent years. While they have maintained diplomatic relationships to display on the fore, there is a whole lot more going on behind the scenes between the Spanish giants.

Earlier this year, the Galacticos broke the non-aggression pact with Atleti and openly began scouting and signing players from the Rojiblanco youth camp. That has only added to the existing friction between the two clubs.

Sunday’s derby will thus be an interesting one. After all, both teams have had contrasting starts to their seasons and are equally hungry for the big game.

The clash at Civitas Metropolitano will not be easy by any means.

In their last 14 appearances at the Atletico Madrid stadium, Los Blancos have lost five times, drawn six times and won just thrice. However, they did win at the stadium last season.

Expect no dearth of passion, quality football and tactical manoeuvres when the local rivals lock horns on Sunday.

The two doubts

Two of Real Madrid’s most important stars were potentially at the risk of missing the game against Atletico Madrid, albeit to different extents.

Vinicius Jr has missed Real Madrid’s last three games through injury. The Brazilian was expected to miss eight after the initial blow and a return against Atletico Madrid seemed impossible.

Magically, Vini shortened his recovery time to just half of that initially reported. Carlo Ancelotti revealed in his pre-game press conference that the Brazilian is now 100% fit and that he would travel with the squad.

The only question that remains is whether he starts or is rested out of precaution.

Jude Bellingham, meanwhile, has been the team’s most important player this season. Without him, Real Madrid would have lost 11 points so far.

The new signing was immense once again in the team’s UEFA Champions League fixture midweek, scoring a late winner for his side. Unfortunately, he suffered a stomach bug on Friday and was forced to leave training early.

Article image:Three talking points ahead of Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid | La Liga

The star men. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images)

The Italian tactician confirmed in his presser that Bellingham will play tomorrow. Just like in the case of Vini, the doubt is whether his participation will be as a starter or off the bench.

Need for finesse

There was really only one big takeaway from Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Union Berlin in the UEFA Champions League – the atrocious finishing.

Los Blancos took 32 shots on the night, seven of which were on target. They recorded five big chances, missing four of them and hitting the woodwork twice.

Against a defensively resilient unit like Atletico Madrid, such slack finishing will not suffice. Ancelotti’s men must pounce on the few chances they create, especially considering that they will be hard to come by.

All eyes, thus, will be on Joselu and Rodrygo Goes. The duo both had rough nights against Union Berlin and will look to turn their fortunes around with a clinical show tomorrow.

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