Real Madrid v Atletico MadridJake Cooper | 12 Oct 2016
La Liga giants Real and Atletico square up to each other on Saturday at the Bernabeu with Cristiano Ronaldo set to return from injury.
The 7th big La Liga derby game of 2014 will see considerable changes for both sides from past encounters, with Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic both having joined Atletico and defensive midfielder Sami Khedira missing out for Real following knee surgery.
Real’s spending spree aimed at improving their Champions League winning squad has also failed to show dividends, with the loss of Xabi Alonso and Angel di Maria being keenly felt.
The Whites have however won 3, drawn 2 and lost 1 of the derby matches this year and will be desperate not to slip up in this game as they look to keep pace with Barca’s impressive start to the La Liga season.
Atletico’s coach Diego Simeone’s men however are in impressive form being unbeaten in their previous 5 games, including a 1-0 win over Real in the recent Super Cup Final.
Of particular interest to Simeone’s charges will be Real’s vulnerability against the set piece, with Atletico’s last four goals against Real coming from dead ball plays.
The powerful Mandzukic will have a key role to play for Atletico when the inevitable corners into the danger zone come in and Casillas could have his hands full on his recall for Real.
With Ronaldo feeling his way back from injury, Real may look to Gareth Bale to provide the spark up front, but the game will ultimately hinge on how well the Galactico’s defence holds up.
La Liga Betting
A look at the odds on Saturday’s game show most bookies have Real as firm favourites for the clash.
Betway have Real down at 1.65, while Atletico are 5.00 for the win. Perhaps the best value bet would be a draw, with odds at 3.75 looking attractive for a stalemate at the Bernabeu.