Atletico Madrid have not beaten Real Madrid since 1999, but in none of those subsequent fixtures have they gone into the match enjoying such a points advantage over their city rivals as the current eight point gap. The last time Atletico went into the derby with a similar lead was in the 1995-96 season when Atletico went onto claim the Spanish title.
Currently sitting just three points behind table toppers Barcelona, Atletico coach Diego Simeone knows that his side can make a major statement about their title credentials with a win over Real on Saturday.
Atletico have been propelled this season by the 11 league goals of Radamel Falcao and the Colombian could further impress reported suitors Real Madrid with an eye-catching performance at the Bernabeu.
While Atletico have exceeded expectations this season, the same cannot be said for their neighbors, who already find themselves clinging to the slightest hope of retaining their La Liga title. Madrid have already lost three matches this campaign and another defeat on Saturday would surely end all conversation about a realistic challenge to Barcelona.
However, Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has said he is not thinking about the possible ramifications of the fixture.
"I do not play these sorts of games,” he said, according to Real Madrid’s official website. “Everyone who wants to do these assessments can do them. For me it is a match to enjoy. I play almost every three days and do not have much time to be happy or sad. I enjoy the 90 minutes and when the referee blows the final whistle I may be happy or sad but all I play is for is my happiness.”
Real Madrid defender Raul Albiol is ruled out following an ankle injury suffered in a midweek Copa del Rey victory over Alcoyano. Gonzalo Higuain, Marcelo and Michael Essien all remain on the sidelines.
Atleti midfielder Mario Suarez returns form suspension, but Cristian Rodriguez is an injury doubt.
Real Madrid (probable)
D: Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Coentrao
M: Khedira, Alonso
Di Maria, Modric, Ronaldo
Atletico Madrid (probable)
D: Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Filipe
M: Gabi, Suarez
Koke, Costa, Turan
Prediction: In one of the most eagerly anticipated Madrid derbies in years, Atletico could well pour further misery on Madrid boss Mourinho. While Falcao will be eager to continue his fine scoring form, Atletico also have a greater fight about them this season that should ensure that they do not wilt under the pressure of facing their local rivals. Despite their poor form, Madrid should still have enough about them to earn a point but that is unlikely to be good enough to maintain any hope of retaining their title.
Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Where to watch: The La Liga match kicks-off from the Bernabeu at 4 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by beIN Sport. A live stream, which you view at your own discretion, will be available here.
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