Thursday, March 30, 2023

Prediction: Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 24 Feb 2023


Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Unibet

Arguably the main event of the 23rd round of the La Liga season this weekend is the derby of the Spanish capital, set to take place on Saturday at the Santiago Bernabeu, where Real Madrid will play host to Atletico Madrid. The game between these teams isn’t perhaps as high-profile as the “El Clasico” between Real and Barcelona, but it’s certainly important for both sets of supporters in the city. Further more, both teams will desperately need any point they can get between now and the end of the season.

Real Madrid

Real go into this match buzzing from their comprehensive triumph over Liverpool earlier this week, in the first leg of the clash of these titans in the Champions League round of 16, proving once again the bane of the Merseyside club.

Back on the domestic scene, however, Real sit second with 51 points, eight less than Barcelona at the top, and as many more than Real Sociedad in third place. Speaking on the subject, head coach Carlo Ancelotti said his team have by no means given up on the hope of defending their crown as the Spanish champions, and their hope will be boosted by the relatively poor showing of the Catalans in the Europa League – they’ve been eliminated from the competition by Manchester United. The situation could, of course, be interpreted completely the other way around, with Real still fighting on both fronts and Barcelona being able to focus on avoiding any potential drop-off in the league.

Ancelotti’s team won the last five games they played in all competitions on the trot, preceded by a 1-0 loss away to Mallorca. After that, they won the FIFA Club World Cup by beating Al Ahly in the semifinals by 4-1 and Al-Hilal 5-3 in the final, and returned to beat Elche 4-0 at home and Osasuna 0-2 away, before beating Liverpool 2-5 at Anfield.

Things went mostly wrong for Real in the opening 15 minutes against Jurgen Klopp’s team, with Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah on target to give the home side a 2-0 lead, but Vinicius Junior struck twice before the break to draw back level, Eder Militao turned it around at the start of the second half, and a brace from Karim Benzema ensured they were heading into the rematch with a three-goal advantage.

Team News

Toni Kroos returned to the fold after an illness and came on for the final three minutes against Liverpool, and the return of Mariano Diaz has boosted Ancelotti’s options upfront. Diaz’s return is important, due to Benzema recently struggling with muscle problems and potentially in need of game-time management. In that aspect, Ancelotti will probably do well to rest Luka Modric, with Aurelien Tchouameni back in contention as well. Benzema is, however, likely to start, with Diaz ready to come on at some point of the second half. Left-back Ferland Mendy is out, as are fellow defender David Alaba and winger Rodrygo, both of whom suffered injuries at Anfield.

With Thibaut Courtois in goal, Militao should pair up with Antonio Rudiger in the middle of the back line again, with Dani Carvajal on the right, and Nacho on the left in the absence of Mendy and Alaba. Eduardo Camavinga and Tchouameni should be watching the back of Kroos in the middle of the park, while Vinicius and Fede Valverde support Benzema upfront.

Atletico Madrid

Unlike Real, Atletico failed to get out of their group in the Champions League, finishing behind FC Porto, Club Brugge and Bayer Leverkusen, and they don’t have any European worries anymore this season. Over in Spain, however, they’re fighting to return to UEFA’s elite competition, sitting currently in fourth place with 41 points. That’s two less than Sociedad in third, four more than Real Betis in fifth, and seven more than Rayo Vallecano, unexpectedly in sixth place.

The recent form of the Rojiblancos is excellent, but they will be keenly aware that the only defeat suffered in the last six competitive matches came against the very opposition they’re about to face, Real Madrid, 3-1 at the Bernabeu in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey. Apart from that, they beat Valladolid at home by 3-0, beat Osasuna away by 0-1, drew 1-1 at home against Getafe, beat Celta Vigo away by 0-1, and beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 at home.

The only goal in that last game was the work of Antoine Griezmann, whose importance for Diego Simeone’s side has increased following the departure of Joao Felix to Chelsea on loan.

Apart from being the fresher of the two teams due to the lack of European commitments, Atletico will be motivated by the fact that they haven’t beaten Real at the Bernabeu since 2016, but they will also be wary of the vast quality of the rivals from across town.

Team News

Midfielder Rodrigo De Paul and winger Thomas Lemar have been ruled out through injury, but Simeone will welcome the return of Stefan Savic from suspension.

Jan Oblak will be in goal. Savic will likely come straight into the team to pair up with Mario Hermoso in the heart of defence, with Reinildo on the left and Nahuel Molina on the right. Pablo Barrios is expected to replace De Paul in midfield, playing alongside Koke, with Yannick Carrasco and Marcos Llorente out wide. Griezmann will be supporting former Real striker Alvaro Morata upfront.


Atletico may be the fresher of the two teams, but with Real’s second leg against Liverpool not played next week or the week after, the home side won’t be pulling too many punches either. Expect a narrow win for Real.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Unibet


Veselin Trajkovic

Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.



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