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La Liga 2015, Atlético de Madrid vs Real Madrid: Match preview

Los Blancos visit the Vicente Calderón hoping to keep their advantage at the league table despite their weakened roster for the derby.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

For the sixth time this season, Los Blancos face the team that has proven to be their deadliest rival since Carlo Ancelotti arrived in Madrid. With a 0-2-3 record favorable to the colchoneros, who won the Spanish Supercup against us and sent us out of the Copa del Rey just a month ago, Atlético de Madrid seem to be the favorites for tomorrow’s game. Real Madrid will need to do their best in order to get a victory out of the Calderón.

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After beating Sevilla last Wednesday, Real Madrid sit comfortably on top of the league table, four points ahead of FC Barcelona and seven points ahead of Atlético. While it is true that Ancelotti’s men could afford to tie or, even, to lose in the Calderón and still have good odds to win La Liga, a victory would be really important for this team’s future. This way, Los Blancos would be able to face the Champions League knock-out phase and the decisive games in La Liga, including the Clásico to be played in the Camp Nou, in calm.

With the absences of Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo, Modric and James, Real Madrid’s lineup seems quite clear. The only reasonable doubt is whether Khedira, Lucas Silva or Illarramendi will feature in the midfield alongside Toni Kroos and Isco Alarcón, although Ancelotti’s words in the press conference after last Wednesday’s game against Sevilla may suggest that a fresh Illarramendi will be the chosen one.

Atlético de Madrid, on the contrary, arrive in a very good condition, as none of their important players are injured or banned for this game. Marca and As have been reporting these days that their lineup will be formed by Moyà; Juanfran, Godín, Miranda, Siqueira; Gabi, Tiago, Koke, Arda Turan; Mandzukic and Griezmann. Diego Simeone, who claimed today in a press conference that he does not feel that tomorrow’s game will ressemble any of the derbies we’ve seen in the Calderón this season, confirmed that Torres will sit on the bench as Mandzukic and Griezmann will be their strikers.

And Los Blancos will need to take good care of those tomorrow, since none of the members of the world’s best centerback couple will hit the grass. Varane and Nacho will need to step up and put all their defensive talent at stake in order to defend Casillas’ goal, both from Mandzukic’s aerial play and Griezmann’s speed. The task seems terribly hard for such an unexperienced couple, but who knows if fulfilling it can be a turning point for their careers in Real Madrid, just like it can be for Kroos and Isco’s companion in the midfield.

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