La Liga champions Real Madrid will be looking to dent Atletico Madrid’s top-four hopes when they travel to the Wanda Metropolitano for the 229th Madrid derby on Sunday evening.
While spirits in the Los Blancos camp are high after beating Manchester City in midweek to reach the Champions League final, Atletico head into this contest after failing to win or score in their last two league games.
This time last year, Atletico Madrid were sitting two points clear of both Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of the table before going on to pick up a point against the former and win their remaining three fixtures to seal the La Liga title.
However, Diego Simeone’s men are now sitting 20 points behind newly-crowned champions Los Blancos and still have work to do if they are to qualify for the Champions League.
Los Colchoneros have dropped eight points in their last four matches and have lost their last two games away from home, including the 2-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao last weekend.
Atletico currently sit fourth in the table, three points clear of fifth-placed Real Betis, but with challenging fixtures against Real Madrid, Sevilla and Real Sociedad still to come, Simeone’s side will need to be on top of their game if they are to remain in the top four.
Heading into Sunday’s derby, Atletico have failed to win any of their last 12 domestic meetings against Real, dating back to February 2016 when they won 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid enjoyed another memorable European night on Wednesday as they produced a historic comeback win to beat Man City 6-5 on aggregate and progress to the Champions League final.
Los Blancos were a goal behind and 5-3 down on aggregate heading into stoppage time in the second leg, but a dramatic brace from substitute Rodrygo forced the tie into extra time, before Karim Benzema converted from the penalty spot to set up a showpiece event with Liverpool in Paris on May 28.
Just four days earlier, Carlo Ancelotti and co wrapped up the La Liga title with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Espanyol. The Italian boss has now become the first manager to win the domestic title in each of Europe’s so-called top-five leagues (La Liga, Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1).
Real are essentially playing for pride in their final four league fixtures, but they are sure to be fired up for Sunday’s Madrid derby as they bid to get one over their rivals and dent their top-four hopes.
Los Blancos, who claimed a 2-0 home win over Atletico in the reverse fixture, have the best away record in the division so far this season, winning 13 and drawing two of their 17 matches on the road. They are also undefeated in their previous four meetings at the Wanda Metropolitano, claiming three draws and one victory.
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Real Madrid La Liga form:
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We say: Atletico Madrid 1-2 Real Madrid
While there is an element of pressure on both Madrid teams to win considering that bragging rights are on the line, there is more riding on this fixture for Atletico as defeat on Sunday could potentially see them slip out of the top four.
Real are on a real high after enjoying a historic week, and even if they opt to rest one or two star names, we expect the visitors to come out on top at the Wanda Metropolitano.