With Real Madrid sitting top of the table with 31 points, 3 points ahead of rivals Barcelona, they need to keep their streak of the season which, so far, consists of 10 wins; 1 draw; and 1 loss. With Barcelona trailing right behind us, the men in White really need to keep winning to avoid disaster later on.
As for Atletico Madrid, their season hasn't really been all that great as they sit in 9th place with 16 points after 4 wins; 4 draws; and 4 losses. But they are hungry to get their season back on track against derby rivals, Real Madrid and any Los Merengues fan knows what Atletico are really capable of against us.
With Ricardo Carvalho, Kaka, and Alvaro Arbeloa still injured, Real Madrid had some good news after being able to confirm that Marcelo and Angel Di Maria have been able to shake off their injuries and return to the squad. Also, since coach Jose Mourinho was able to rest some very key players in the last Champions League game against Dinamo Zaghreb, the players are more than ready to take the pitch against Atletico Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu. Therefore, my expected line-up for the game is:
Lassana Diarra; Sergio Ramos; Pepe; Marcelo
Xabi Alonso; Sami Khedira
Angel Di Maria; Mesut Ozil; Cristiano Ronaldo
One major problem that many Madristas are worried about is the suspension of Xabi Alonso. He has played the most minutes this season for Real Madrid and is probably are most important player at the moment. One more yellow card and he will be suspended for the next two games against Sporting Gijon and, more importantly, Barcelona. Usually, 5 yellow cards would result in a "one-game suspension" but, recently, it has been decided that if he gets an intentional yellow, then he will be suspended for 2 games.
Sorry to say this, but as usual, it's normal to make changes in the rules when it comes to Real Madrid I guess.
Some pre-match quotes I feel are worth putting:
- Jose Mourinho (Real Madrid coach): "He [Xabi Alonso] is not going to force a booking tomorrow because every game is important to us and Real Madrid are the only ones who aren't allowed to force a yellow card"
-Enrique Cerezo (Atletico Madrid President): "We would be very happy and proud if we could beat Real Madrid."
-Sami Khedira (Real Madrid Player): "Atletico Madrid have a good team, but I'm confident that we can beat them if we keep up our recent form. It would be a big disappointment if we don't beat them."
So, what are your predictions for the Derby?