Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid Preview

Spanish La Liga | Sunday 4 October | Estadio Vicente Calderon | 20:30

Atletico and Real Madrid will go head to head to settle scores on Sunday in another chapter of their intense rivalry. This will be Rafa Benitez’s first real test since taking over Real Madrid and he’ll be looking to oust Diego Simeone’s side – something Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti both struggled to achieve during their time at Los Blancos. Real have beaten Atleti just twice (including extra-time 2014 Champions League final) in their last 10 meetings in all competitions with four draws and four defeats. The other victory came in the UEFA Champions League last season with then striker Javier Hernandez scoring the only goal of the match.  

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To Win (90mins)
Atletico 19/10
Draw 22/10
Real Madrid 15/10

Atletico Madrid

Atletico have had a reasonably good start in the La Liga title race, losing twice but more crucially recording four victories. Atleti have won two of their three matches played at home this season, losing once to reigning champions Barcelona. Their last match ended in a 1-0 defeat away to Villarreal last weekend, but Rojiblancos will be happy to return to the Vicente Calderon where they won comfortably against Getafe last time out. 

Simeone will be relying on the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Koke, Jackson Martinez and Fernando Torres for big game performances. Griezmann in particular will be crucial to Atleti’s chances of victory. The Frenchman has three goals and two assists from his six games played this season. He will look to put Los Blancos to the sword with dazzling dribbles, close control and his trademark blistering pace. Griezmann is the most potent player in the Atletico squad in front of goal, and is renowned for his ability to sneak past defenders and create space for himself. His mobile play and diagonal movement is a nightmare for defenders which makes it literally impossible to man mark him.

Atletico are very well organised defensively, and they usually carry out Simeone’s plans to perfection. They live and die as a side by the way they swarm the opposition, restricting their opponent’s time on the ball and making them rush every decision. Their backline of Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez, Filipe Luis and Juanfran are rock-solid and they don’t give away chances easily.  

Real Madrid

Real Madrid are undefeated with four wins and two draws. They have managed two wins from three away matches played, beating Espanyol 6-0 and Athletic Bilbao 2-1 following a goalless draw against newly-promoted Sporting Gijon in the opening game of the campaign. Los Blancos are coming off a dour draw at home to Malaga last weekend. 

Benitez will be acutely aware Real Madrid's attack is far from fully functional at present, given that last weekend's scoreless stalemate with Malaga comes on the back of a somewhat fortuitous 1-0 victory over Granada in their previous home outing. Admittedly, there are mitigating circumstances at present for Los Blancos, who are still without James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale in attack. Benitez and Real Madrid will hope that Cristiano Ronaldo will be at the peak of his powers against Atleti. 

Ronaldo is joint top scorer in the league along with teammate Karim Benzema who both have five goals each. Real Madrid’s traditional attacking philosophy has its weaknesses when playing against physical teams that are quick on the counter such as Atletico. Real are likely to be without the services of Bale, Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos due to injury which will certainly play in Atletico’s favour.   

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Probable line-ups:

Atletico Madrid: 4-4-2
Oblak; Juanfran, Godin, Gimenez, Filipe Luis; Tiago, Gabi, Saul Niguez, Oliver; Griezmann, Fernando Torres 

Real Madrid: 4-2-3-1
Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo; Kroos, Modric; Jese, Isco, Ronaldo; Benzema

Betting Verdict: Atletico Madrid Win 19/10
Atletico Madrid are unbeaten in their last three league meetings against Real Madrid having won twice, including a 4-0 win in last season’s corresponding fixture. Atletico are tipped to claim maximum points against their fiercest rivals.

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!