Atletico vs Real Madrid: Picks for the Madrid Derby

The Madrid Derby. Photo credit: Alejandro Ramos (Flickr) CC License

Atlético Madrid (+230) vs Real Madrid (+138), Draw (+262)

It’s been a disappointing season so far for the city of Madrid. Both Atletico Madrid (6-5-0, 23 points) and Real Madrid (7-2-2, 23 points) have under-performed domestically and are struggling in the Champions League’s group stage.

Eleven fixtures deep, the Madrid clubs are tied on points in La Liga, four points behind second-place Valencia and eight back of league-leading Barcelona. Both managers, Zinedine Zidane and Diego Simeone, have come under fire for their recent performances, and their chances of prying the title away from Barca are growing slimmer by the week.

After an eventful slate of International matches, the clubs reconvene at Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday (November 18th) for the first Madrid derby of the season. With both in need of points, not to mention a morale boost, the upcoming clash has taken on a heightened significance.

Recent Record and Form

Atletico are currently unbeaten in La Liga, but that’s hardly as impressive as it sounds. Of their eleven league games, they’ve drawn five and were extremely fortunate to edge past Deportivo de La Coruña in their last match. The win was only their second in the last nine games across all competitions.

On the Champions League front, things are looking even worse. With zero wins in four group matches, Atleti have the narrowest of paths to the knockout phase. Trapped in a group with heavy hitters Chelsea and Roma, Atletico will likely have to set their sights on Europa.

Before the international break, Real Madrid landed an emphatic 3-0 win over Las Palmas. But given that Las Palmas were on a six-game losing streak in La Liga, that’s not much to celebrate. Before that, Los Blancos suffered back-to-back losses against Girona (La Liga) and Tottenham (Champions League). Their 3-1 loss to Tottenham was a particularly bitter pill to swallow, as Real was thoroughly outplayed. 

Neither side is at their best at the moment, but Real Madrid have certainly been more consistent. While Blancos have suffered a few hiccups this season, they’re still doing reasonably well. Atleti, on the other hand, are dealing with a slump that could be far more serious.

Head-to-Head Record

Atletico has a terrible record against Real Madrid at Vicente Calderón, winning just two home derbies (out of 18 games) since re-entering La Liga in 2002-03. However, they’ve managed to win four of their last seven matches away at the Bernabéu.

This will be the first meeting between the Madrid clubs since Atletico moved to Wanda Metropolitano, and perhaps their weird home-field disadvantage is now a thing of the past. Their home record this season (2-2-0) is nothing special, but it does include draws against Barca and Villarreal. Real Madrid’s away record (4-0-1) is, as usual, pretty good.

Injury List

Atletico Madrid are optimistic heading into the weekend. Koke and Yannick Carrasco are expected to recover in time for the Madrid clash after nursing injuries for over a month. The club experienced a slump in the absence of two of their most creative players and their return should provide a boost to the ailing squad. Defenders Filipe Luis and Stefan Savic, both recovering from injuries, are also expected to be ruled fit for the match.

Gareth Bale is, once again, out of commission. Just when it seemed like the 28-year-old was finally overcoming his ankle issues, he went down with another injury that will rule him out for another six weeks. His replacement, Isco, who has had an amazing season so far, went down during an international friendly against Costa Rica and will miss the midweek primer against Russia, but he’s expected to be fit by Saturday.

Pick: Atletico Madrid (+230)

There’s a good chance that Atletico’s recent slump is mostly due to the absence of Koke and Carrasco. They started the season with four wins in their first six games, but followed up with just two wins in their next five, a slump which coincided with the injuries.

Both Koke and Carrasco are expected to make their return this Saturday, and if they do, it’s going to be a tough night for Real Madrid. Atletico Madrid at +230 is where the value is.