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Three keys to a Real Madrid win against Atletico de Madrid on Saturday

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Will Isco play at all?

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CD Leganes v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Real Madrid host Atletico de Madrid in what will be a crucial Madrid Derby this Saturday. Los Blancos are currently leading La Liga table even though they have one game at hand. However, with Barcelona efficiently taking care of business, Madrid must protect the Santiago Bernabeu when not only Atletico but also Barça themselves visit their stadium.

Here are three keys to a Real Madrid win.

  1. Zinedine Zidane's starting XI. Atletico will want to sit back and wait for some counterattacking chances and we've seen how that game plan usually hurts a Real Madrid lineup with Casemiro, Kroos and Modric in the midfield. Casemiro is a valuable defensive player but he doesn't have the ability to distribute the ball quick enough to hurt the opponent's established defense. Furthermore, Atletico's trademark pressing could be very dangerous for a Casemiro-led midfield. Coach Zidane might need to be brave and start Isco alongside Kroos and Modric to control the tempo of the game and dominate Atletico at will. If those three players work hard, Casemiro's physical presence will not be needed.
  2. Keylor Navas. The Costa Rican goalkeeper has been far from being the reliable player he was last year. It seems that he just can't keep a clean sheet and Atletico's set pieces could be very dangerous if he doesn't have the confidence to step up in those situations. Atletico will have their chances and Real Madrid can't afford Navas walking away without making a valuable save this time.
  3. Firepower. The BBC of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo is not having a good season by any means and yet Real Madrid will need those three players to be accurate in front of Jan Oblak if they want to get the three points. Neither one of them played a single minute last Wednesday so they should have fresh legs against Atletico. Benzema has bounced back from a disappointing start of the season and now it seems that it is Ronaldo and Bale's time to shine. Zidane will need them to make a statement during this tough part of the schedule also featuring El Clasico and two matches against Bayern Munich as well.

How to watch the Madrid Derby

Kick-off time: 16:15 CET, 10:15am EST.

Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain.

Prediction: Real Madrid 2 (Ronaldo, Ramos)-1 Atletico de Madrid (Godin)

Available TV: BeIN Sports (USA), BeIN La Liga (Spain).

Available streaming: BeIN Sports Connect (USA), Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream, click here to sign up and benefit from a huge offer for new members and Managing Madrid readers).

For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.