Feuding neighbours Real Madrid and Atletico clash in El Derbi Madrileño at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu this evening, where the pressure will be on the hosts to deliver the victory they need to keep their title defence alive.
Los Blancos enjoyed a sensational 5-2 win over Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, but while things have been clicking on the continent, Real face an uphill task in La Liga where they are currently eight points behind leaders Barcelona. Only a win against local antagonists Atletico today will allow Real to keep the squeeze on Barca at the division’s summit.
I’ve done some digging and collected my own thoughts on a Bet Builder for this one. You can find my tips for the game over on the Betting.Betfair website, fully researched and at boosted odds of 10/1.
Mariano Diaz, Ferland Mendy and Aurelien Tchouameni are all listed as absent for Real Madrid at present, while David Alaba should also be in the stands having come off injured in the first-half at Anfield in midweek.
Nacho replaced Alaba at left-back on Tuesday and the versatile performer should slot into that position again today. Toni Kroos will be pushing for a recall to the Real XI, while Rodrygo could drop out of the team after he picked up an injury on Merseyside too.
Thomas Lemar and Rodrigo de Paul are in the treatment room for Atletico, so Marcos Llorente or Pablo Barrios could partner Koke in central-midfield. Argentinean task master Diego Simeone is likely to deploy his troops in his favoured 4-4-2 formation.
Antoine Griezmann and Angel Correa were paired up front in Atletico’s 1-0 triumph over Athletic Bilbao last weekend and that dynamic duo could be reunited in attack against Real. Stefan Savic is free again following a recent ban and the 27-year-old could feature in defence.
Only Barcelona have conceded fewer goals in La Liga than Real Madrid this term, though Los Blancos rank fifth and fourth respectively for shots and xG against per 90 in the division.
The defending champions will kick-off Sunday’s derby as La Liga’s most-prolific outfit, however, and nobody in Spain’s top tier can match Real for goals, shots, shots on target and xG per 90.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side showcased their attacking talents in a 3-1 Copa del Rey win over Atletico in late January, though that tie did go to extra time. As per the norm in derby encounters between the sides, nine cards were brandished in that heated head-to-head.
Atletico have conceded the exact same number of goals as rivals Real in La Liga this term, though Los Colchoneros haven’t been anywhere near as incisive as their foes in the final third. Atletico’s xG per 90 in La Liga pales in comparison to Real’s figures (1.79 – 2.34), and Los Blancos have notched 32% more goals than their city rivals in total.
Atletico have never played sparkling attacking football under Diego Simeone, however, they have been known to revel in the grittier aspects of the game under their fiery South American boss. Their haul of 54 yellow and six red cards in 2022/23 so far is pretty eye-catching and Atletico are as short as 4/11 to collect three or more of them today.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior brought plenty of razzle-dazzle to Anfield on Tuesday where they had five attempts between them, 100% of which hit the target. Both forwards should be central to Real’s attacking manoeuvres again on Sunday, though Brazilian Vinicius looks particularly interesting at 4/9 to lodge at least one accurate attempt.
The 22-year-old has pinged at least one shot on target in every game he’s been involved in for Los Blancos since his return from the World Cup. Vinicius has also started twice for Real in their two previous meetings with Atletico this season and the exciting winger managed to get at least one accurate shot on goal on each occasion.
Antoine Griezmann brings real star quality to an Atletico frontline that is often more functional than fantastic, and the French forward has been hitting 3.54 shots and 1.39 shots on target per 90 in La Liga this season.
The experienced 31-year-old knows how to produce on the biggest stage and he should interest a few at 8/13 to clock just one shot on target today. His partner in crime up front, Angel Correa is 5/6 in the same market. The tricky Argentinean has registered at least one accurate attempt in six of his last eight runouts for Atletico.
Player Goals and Assists
Vinicius Junior has been at his free-wheeling best of late and his brace at Anfield on Tuesday brought his recent haul of goal contributions up to ten in his last 12 starts in all competitions. The 22-year-old grabbed one of those goals against Atletico in the Copa del Rey last month and the Brazilian is keenly priced at 11/10 to either score or assist again today.
Karim Benzema, who notched twice and assisted once at Anfield in midweek, also registered against Atletico last month and the French veteran is a generous 4/6 to chip in with another goal contribution this evening.
Atletico Madrid have scored just once in each of their last five fixtures and five different players all contributed to that meagre haul. Former Real youngster Alvaro Morata notched Atletico’s consolation in their 3-1 cup reverse to Los Blancos in January, though there is a strong chance he will start on the bench today.
Antoine Griezmann again looks like the better alternative in the markets. The 31-year-old has a knack for scoring in Madrid derbies and he has notched six times previously against Los Blancos. Griezmann, who should be on spot-kick duty if one is awarded, is priced at 7/2 to impact the scoresheet anytime today.
Real Madrid controlled 61% possession when they eliminated Atletico from the Copa del Rey last month, and Los Blancos should be able to set the tempo again when they host their rivals for a second time.
Luka Modric and Antonio Rudiger have been spraying around passes-a-plenty for Real this term in La Liga, and both players will expect to knit play together from deep positions again today. I expect Modric (69.1) and Rudiger (57.7) to maintain their passes per 90 averages later on.
Koke, Rodrigo de Paul, Stefan Savic, Nahuel Molina and Mario Hermoso have all been hitting north of 50 passes per 90 in La Liga this season, though matching that target could be tough for Atletico’s combatants today.
Atletico are averaging just 47.7% possession per away fixture in La Liga this season and when they last visited the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium last month, they controlled an even lower 39.4% of the ball. Touches could be fleeting again this evening and I don’t expect any Atletico players to feature near the top of the individual passing charts by full-time.
Real Madrid Cards
A bone-crunching 14 cards were brandished in the last two Madrid Derbies combined, and tempers could flare again when Real and Atletico renew their rivalry later on. Vinicius Junior has a fiery temperament and he was among those cautioned in the last derby fixture a month ago.
The 22-year-old is a big price at 11/5 to see yellow again, while Eduardo Camavinga, who is a steely presence in midfield, is 11/10 in the same market. Luka Modric meanwhile, looks like an excellent coupon-filler at 1/4 to commit one foul, though he can be backed by braver bettors to give away two or more free kicks at 6/5.
Argentinean Nahuel Molina’s battle with Brazilian Vinicius Junior on Atletico’s right flank could produce fireworks, fouls and potentially cards in both directions, while Koke’s long-running feud with Luka Modric should continue in the middle of the pitch with similarly abrasive results.
Koke has been fouled 1.1 times per game in La Liga this season, though that average could climb after his head-to-head with Modric. 19-year-old Pablo Barrios could replace the injured Rodrigo de Paul this evening and the youngster could be outmatched physically when he faces Eduardo Camavinga.
Match-Ups to watch
Vinicius Junior vs Nahuel Molina
Luka Modric vs Koke
Eduardo Camavinga vs Pablo Barrios
Atletico Madrid Cards
Atletico accounted for ten of the 14 cards handed out in the last two Madrid Derby encounters and Koke and Reinildo Mandava were cautioned in both skirmishes. In the last league meeting between the rivals, Koke and Reinildo committed three fouls each and they are priced at 6/4 and 4/5 respectively to match that tally of indiscretions today.
Nahuel Molina meanwhile, will be ready to match fire with fire when he marks Vinicius Junior. The South American opponents could kick lumps out of each other today and Molina is available at 21/10 to collect his sixth La Liga caution of the campaign.
Vinicius Junior’s dribbles per 90 stats are off the charts and Real’s wing wizard is one of Europe’s most-fouled players as a consequence. Vinicius is certain to face some heavy treatment from Atletico’s Molina today.
On the opposite flank, Federico Valverde’s powerful running could pull Reinildo Mandava into some uncomfortable positions and the Atletico defender could be carded for the third Madrid Derby on the spin. Eduardo Camavinga meanwhile, has been fouled a calf-crunching 3.61 times per 90 in La Liga and the technically-gifted Frenchman should be on Koke’s list of targets later on.
Match-Ups to watch
Nahuel Molina vs Vinicius Junior
Reinildo Mandava vs Federico Valverde
Koke vs Eduardo Camavinga