Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
December 1, 2012; 21:00 GMT
It’s all set for a cracking Madrid derby later today, with Madrid trying to climb up the ladder having already lost ground of Barcelona and Atletico trying to keep them at a reachable distance the Madrid clubs will go all out for the 3 crucial points.
It’s not often that Real will be looking above the table and see their city rivals above them, but this season Atletico has been brilliant, dropping just four points and trailing unbeaten Barcelona by three points. Real, meanwhile, has dropped 13 points through 13 games. By comparison, the club dropped 14 points all of last season en route to the league title.
Real Madrid captain Iker casillas talking to the press ahead of the game told the club’s website:
“It is a different match from previous seasons. They are coming to the Santiago Bernabeu with a very strong team and following a win in a very tough match against Sevilla, who beat us. We hoped that there would be less of distance between us, but hopefully at the end of the match that advantage will be cut to five points. Any aim other than winning is no good for us.”
Mourinho still has some concerns with the injuried Gonzalo Higuain and Marcelo who are yet to return and Jose Mourinho is expected to name the same side that started against Betis last weekend. And the continued absence of midfielder Essien due to an alergic condition he has devloped will make the Madrid side look weaker in the middle of the park.
Only one spot is in doubt. Mesut Özil has seen better days and Luka Modric is yet to convince the Madrid faithful that he deserves a starting berth. Kaká on the other hand has been out of his world and was dropped again in the midweek game. Xabi Alonso and Angel Di Maria could be the key men for Real Madrid to break open their city rivals’ defense.
Diego Simeone has rotated his squad excellently this season and does not have any new injuries to worry about. After resting the major number of his first team players during the Copa Del Rey mid week clash, Diego will start his ususal. Juanfran, Miranda, Godín and Felipe Luis are the men responsible to try and stop the attacks from Ronaldo, Di Maria and Benzema.
Real Madrid: Casillas(GK); Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Alonso, Khedira; Di Maria, Kaká, Ronaldo; Benzema
Atletico Madrid: Courtois(GK); Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe Luis; Gabi, Mario Suárez; Koke, Diego Costa, Arda Turan; FalcaoReal Madrid vs Atletico Madrid probables