Atletico Will Try To End Real Madrid’s Lead With Home Win
Zinedine Zidane’s team is the leader of the league with 27 points, although the club’s performances in the last few weeks have left some doubts among its followers. Diego Simeone’s club is not doing any better as it lost its last league match 2-0 against Real Sociedad and is currently in fourth place, six points behind “los Merengues.”
This is the first time these two clubs meet since they played the UEFA Champions League final in May, where Real Madrid took the cup in a dramatic and highly contested battle that needed a penalty shootout to define the winner.
The last three games at the Vicente Calderon have been very favorable for the home team with two victories and one draw, including the historic 4-0 that Real Madrid suffered during the 2014-15 season when Italian Carlo Ancelotti coached them.
Real Madrid will need Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas to be atop of his game to prevent the hosts to open the score early and score often to prevent a game where they would have to come back from behind. If they frustrate Atletico’s attackers, they have better options at winning this match.
Casemiro, out with a fibula injury since September, is expected to start this game despite not being recovered 100 percent. Real Madrid need Casemiro because German Tony Kroos is out with a foot injury and they need to use him to deter Atletico’s effective midfield passing.
Most importantly, Real Madrid needs Cristiano Ronaldo to be sharp in front of the opposing goal. In a match where scoring opportunities may be scarce for the visitors, he must be on target to score any chance he is presented with.
For Atletico de Madrid the best weapon will be Frenchman Antoine Griezmann. He is a phenomenal player that loves to play under pressure and perform on the biggest stages. He has already proven that with both the French National team and Atletico.
Griezmann will try to use this game to prove he can be at the same level with Cristiano or even better than him. If Griezmann shines, most likely his team will earn the three points at the end of the day.