Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid - La Liga Game of the Week Preview

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

By Jonathan Willis
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid

Second place in the La Liga table is on the line when Atletico Madrid hosts Real Madrid this Saturday. The Madrid Derby has been ruled by Atletico over the last five years, and they are currently two points ahead of Real Madrid in the standings. Real Madrid have won just once in their last 11 league meetings with Atletico, but they need a victory to surpass Atletico and become the top contender to knock off Barcelona.

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Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid

  • Date and Time: February 9, 2019, 10:15 a.m. ET
  • Location: Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain
  • US Television Coverage: beIN Sports
  • Betting Line: Atletico Madrid PK and -0.5, O/U 2 and 2.5
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Atletico Madrid had won six of their last seven games, and drawn the other, prior to last week’s tilt with Real Betis. They were finally scoring the goals they needed to in order to secure three points rather than settling for draws, but it all came crashing down against Betis. Atletico managed to put just one shot on net despite some good chances, and they allowed Betis to score the game’s lone goal off of a penalty.

The visitors have performed much better than they had under new manager Santi Solari, and they are now back in the top three after a sluggish start. Real Madrid have won their last four league games, the last three by multiple goals, and that has them back in contention to win the league. They beat Alaves 3-0 last week with goals from Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior, and Mariano, but they still have a long way to go in order to get close to Barcelona. The last match between these two teams ended in a 0-0 draw. Atletico played a reserved, defense-focused game to frustrate Real once more, and it did not please players like Sergio Ramos who were openly critical of Atletico’s tactics.

Key Absences

One of Atletico’s best players is close to returning to action. Forward Diego Costa has been a welcome addition since joining at the winter deadline last year, but he has been out with a broken toe for nearly three months. He is expected to miss this match, but he could take part in mid-week Champions League action. Stefan Savic is going to miss another few games due to a strained hamstring, while Diego Godin, Koke, and Gelson Martins have all been listed as questionable. Franchu will miss the rest of the year for Real Madrid. The club will also be without Jesus Vallejo for another few weeks due to a thigh injury, and Karim Benzema and Luca Zidane are both considered questionable.

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Matchup to Watch

The back and forth between Real’s attack and Atletico’s defense will be worth watching. Real have not been particularly sharp on offense this year, and it won’t help to not have Karim Benzema. That means Solari likely has to use Isco, a player he has been very reticent to use, and hope that he and Gareth Bale can finally start to play off each other well up top. Atletico will look to counter when the opportunity arises, and they have two players that can get it up field in a hurry in Antoine Griezmann and Thomas Lemar. The two had done well on the counter until last weekend, but it may be tough to do that against a solid Real back line.

Spanish La Liga Free Picks

The draw and the under are my plays here. Atletico and Real have played to a draw in six of their last 11 meetings, and eight of those matches went under the total.

Spanish La Liga Prediction: Real Madrid 1, Atletico Madrid 1

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