La Liga preview: Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid welcome fierce rivals Atletico Madrid for this weekend’s cross-town derby at the Bernabeu. Los Blancos suffered a disappointing 3-0 defeat at the hands of Sevilla in midweek and this sees them remain second in the standings after they failed to capitalise on Barcelona’s own loss on the road to Leganes.

Atleti, on the other hand, have managed to overcome a slow start to the campaign and a run of back-to-back league victories has helped them move within two points of both Barcelona and Real Madrid whilst occupying the third position.

Previous meeting:

The previous meeting between the sides was in the European Super Cup earlier in August where Atleti enjoyed a 4-2 victory in added extra-time. Diego Costa was the leading performer for Atleti with a goal in either half of normal time while Saul Niguez and Koke were responsible for putting the game out of Los Blancos’ sight after scoring in the 98th and 104th minute respectively at the A. Le Coq Arena in Estonia.

Players to watch for:

Gareth Bale – Real Madrid: The Wales international has been quite frequently backed to take the scoring mantle after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and he has fared decently during the opening stages of the season with three goals and two assists from five La Liga games. Nonetheless, his consistency has somewhat remained a concern after drawing blank in the previous two league matches which Los Blancos have failed to win and his showing could be essential towards a positive result in the Madrid derby. The Welshman has a rather lean record versus Atleti with just one goal from 15 appearances, though he has turned contributor on seven occasions.

Diego Costa – Atletico Madrid: While most of the focus has lied on Antoine Griezmann after his World Cup success with France, his teammate Costa has slowly developed an impressive partnership alongside him. Costa may have not a single league goal since the season started but Los Blancos will surely be wary of the threat brought forward by the Spaniard, who dominated their backline during the European Super Cup. In that game, Costa ruffled up compatriot Sergio Ramos with his physical presence around the box and more of the same could be witnessed this weekend. Costa has amassed four goals and an assist in 12 games versus Real – two of which came during the recent European Super Cup triumph.

Prediction:

Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid

Image – Getty