These guys again? It seems like these two sides JUST met. But really, this is the third meeting between the two Madrid rivals in just this month alone so it feels like we've scouted them left, right, up, down and inside out. Let's do it again.
As you know, Atleti lost, and in pretty poor form too, against Osasuna last time they played but they should have a number of returning players who were rested in that match, including Koke, Arda Turan and Miranda. They're a pretty well off squad in terms of injuries so expect their full compliment of players as their boisterous home crowd urges them on to commit more and more dirty fouls and cheap tricks in order to pull off a victory.
Carlo recently had this to say about Atleti:
They are fantastically solid. They use their strengths: the counter-attack, set-plays, they are efficient. Atletico is like Simeone was as a player. They play to the maximum, play together, give their all.
Great observation from the Eyebrow as little has changed about Atleti's playing style since the two sides last met (except for Atleti's playing style being unable to win them points, but I digress). They're second in the league in counterattack goals (eight) and third in the league in set piece goals (11). They also concede the fewest shots per game while leading the league in tackles per game. So basically, concede possession but form a tight, compact defensive unit which loves to mix it up, physically-speaking.
Miranda and Godin are their defensive stalwarts, while Koke and Diego Costa pull the strings on offense. They prefer to run plays through the left side and aren't very keen on going up the middle. This is also the way to beat them, wing play and keeping the ball away from the middle where Gabi lurks. Since Marcelo and Carvajal played this weekend I would assume that Coentrao and Arbeloa will get the starting nods, which will somewhat limit Real's attacks out wide, but don't be surprised if Carlo gives them some offensive freedom to go forward in attack.
Filipe Luis is back for Atlético de Madrid. Manquillo and Tiago will miss the Derby, and so will Real Madrid's Sami Khedira.
If you want to know more into Atleti's numbers, give this a read. They're a familiar foe so everyone on the Real side should know what it will take to beat them. RM will have to show the same kind of aggression and willingness to take it to Atleti that they showed in the first leg of the CDR and if they keep Costa quiet then I foresee Atleti having a really tough time scoring. An early first goal will also do wonders in shutting up that rabid crowd of theirs.
Prediction: 2-1 in favor of Real Madrid and putting Atleti six points back in the race but I also wouldn't be shocked if this game ended in a draw. Hopefully every visiting fan and player gets home safe, sound and not having been hit by a projectile.