MX23RW : Monday, August 2 08:22:38| >> :120:59242:59242:
Feb 1, 2020 at 3pm UK at Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 77,223
Real Madrid
AtleticoAtletico Madrid
Benzema (56')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, including team news and predicted lineups.

Real Madrid will be looking to move six points clear at the top of La Liga when they welcome Atletico Madrid to the Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon.

Los Blancos are currently three points ahead of second-placed Barcelona at the top of the table, while Atletico occupy fifth with 36 points to show from their 21 matches during the 2019-20 campaign.

Match preview

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane pictured on November 30, 2019© Reuters

Real Madrid have not been without their problems this season, but Zidane's side will enter this match off the back of seven straight wins in all competitions. They beat Atletico on penalties in the final of the Spanish Super Cup earlier this month and have since posted four victories in two separate competitions.

Indeed, in addition to overcoming Sevilla and Real Valladolid in the league, Los Blancos have progressed in the Copa del Rey with wins over Unionistas and Real Zaragoza, beating the latter 4-0 on Wednesday night.

Zidane shuffled his pack for the Copa del Rey tie, but the capital giants were still far too strong for their opponents, with Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius Junior among the goals at the Estadio de la Romareda.

Barca's 2-0 loss at Valencia last weekend opened the door for Real Madrid to move to the top of the table, and they recorded a 1-0 win over Valladolid courtesy of a late goal from Nacho. As a result, there is three points between first and second, but Zidane's side will have the chance to move six points clear on Saturday afternoon as the reigning Spanish champions are not in action until Sunday night against Levante.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action with Real Madrid's Toni Kroos in La Liga at Camp Nou on December 18, 2019© Reuters

The fact that Real Madrid have lost just once in 21 league matches this season is very impressive, with that defeat coming away to Mallorca on October 19. They have actually not lost in any competition since then, progressing to the last-16 stage of the Champions League as well as impressing domestically.

European football will resume next month, and Los Blancos have the small matter of a clash with Manchester City at the Bernabeu. The reverse fixture at the Etihad Stadium will then take place on March 17, and it would be fair to say that Pep Guardiola's side have not been at their best this season.

Incredibly, five of the last six league meetings between these two teams have finished level, including a goalless draw when they last locked horns at the Bernabeu in September 2018.

Even more surprisingly, Real Madrid have not actually beaten Atletico on home soil in the league since December 2012. There is no question that Zidane's team will enter Saturday's clash as the favourites, but Diego Simeone has shown on numerous occasions that he is capable of frustrating in-form sides.

Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann in action with Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata in La Liga on December 1, 2019© Reuters

Atletico will enter this weekend's match off the back of a four-game winless run in all competitions. Indeed, they have not picked up a victory since beating Barca 3-2 in the semi-finals of the Spanish Super Cup.

Since then, Simeone's side have lost to Real Madrid in the final, in addition to suffering defeats away to Eibar in the league on January 18 and against Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey on January 23.

Atletico would have been looking to return to winning ways against Leganes last weekend, but the points were shared in a goalless draw at the Wanda Metropolitano. The result left the capital side down in fifth position in the table with a record of nine wins, nine draws and three defeats from 21 matches.

The Red and Whites are only two points off third-placed Sevilla on the same number of matches but sit 10 points behind Real Madrid heading into the Madrid derby. In all honesty, it is difficult to imagine Atletico making a play for the title in the remaining months of the campaign.

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone pictured on September 14, 2019© Reuters

In recent years, Atletico have almost always boasted the best defensive record throughout the season but that is not the case this term. Indeed, Real Madrid have only conceded 13 goals in their 21 matches, while Atletico have shipped 14.

Down the other end, Real Madrid are the second-leading scorers in the division with 39 goals, but Atletico have managed just 22. Only Leganes, Valladolid, Celta Vigo, Espanyol and Eibar have scored fewer La Liga goals than Simeone's side this season, which is an indiction of their issues.

Alvaro Morata has seven league strikes to his name during the 2019-20 campaign, but Joao Felix and Angel Correa have just five between them. Diego Costa's injury blow has certainly harmed the team, but there has not been enough happening in the final third of the field this term.

Atletico's recent record at the Bernabeu is strong, though, picking up three wins and three draws from their last six league visits, with Real Madrid's last victory in this particular fixture coming back in December 2012.

Real Madrid La Liga form: DDDWWW
Real Madrid form (all competitions): WWWWWW

Atletico La Liga form: DWWWLD
Atletico form (all competitions): WWLLLD

Team News

Gareth Bale in action for Real Madrid on December 18, 2019© Reuters

Both Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard are making progress in their recoveries from knee and ankle injuries respectively, although neither player will be considered for this weekend's contest.

Dani Carvajal is back having served a one-game suspension last weekend, though, while Gareth Bale could be involved despite a recent ankle problem.

The fact that Ferland Mendy, Rodrygo Goes and Luka Modric were not involved against Zaragoza in the Copa del Rey suggests that all three will return to the starting XI on Saturday afternoon.

Federico Valverde could be the player to drop out despite his impressive form this season, but Lucas Vazquez is in line to keep his spot in the final third having impressed on Wednesday night.

As for Atletico, Diego Costa remains unavailable following a neck operation, while neither Thomas Lemar nor Koke are expected to recover in time for the contest.

Joao Felix has also been ruled out with a muscular injury, meaning that Correa and Morata could line up as the front two in a 4-4-2 formation, with Vitolo potentially coming into the side.

Kieran Trippier and Jose Gimenez are also doubts and should neither recover then Sime Vrsaljko and Felipe will start alongside Stefan Savic and Renan Lodi in defence.

Hector Herrera, Saul Niguez and Thomas Partey should all feature for the visitors in midfield.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vazquez

Atletico possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Felipe, Lodi; Saul, Herrera, Partey, Vitolo; Correa, Morata

Head To Head

Overall, there has been 162 league matches between the two teams throughout history. Real Madrid lead the head-to-head 87 wins to Atletico's 39, while the remaining 39 fixtures have finished level.

Each of their last three La Liga meetings at the Bernabeu have finished level, while Atletico won three straight matches away from home against their rivals between 2013 and 2016.

As mentioned, Real Madrid have not beaten Atletico at home in the league since the 2012-13 campaign, although Los Blancos overcame their rivals on penalties in the Spanish Super Cup final earlier this month.

The reverse fixture at the Wanda Metropolitano earlier this season finished in a goalless draw.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Real Madrid 2-1 Atletico Madrid

A lot of the signs are pointing to another draw this weekend, but we just have a feeling for Real Madrid. Zidane's team are in excellent form at the moment and with Atletico missing some key players once again, we expect the home side to pick up an important three points in their pursuit of the title.

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Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann in action with Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata in La Liga on December 1, 2019
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