Real Madrid will seek to take revenge from their defeat at the Copa del Rey final against Atletico Madrid as they face their city rivals in a crucial match to continue Barcelona’s chase. A victory would secure the second position in the table for either side, while a draw would benefit the Azulgrana.
Marcelo has not made it on time to feature in the game, Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed. The Brazilian is not completely recovered from his injury. However, the Italian could pick Gareth Bale for the starting eleven, as it seems the Welshman is ready to make his return after suffering muscle fatigue.
The main doubt for Real’s manager is whether to play Alvaro Arbeloa or Fabio Coentrao on the left-back. Elche’s experiment of trying both of them in defence didn’t work, and it seems that Daniel Carvajal will return to the right-back while Arbeloa has more chances of returning to the left.
If Bale plays from the start, Ancelotti will also have to seat either Isco or Angel di Maria, who are both having a brilliant performance in the start of the season. Los Merengues will once again miss Xabi Alonso due to injury. Luka Modric and Sami Khedira are the expected centre-half pair.
Meanwhile, Diego Simeone has the only doubt of Mario Suarez, who suffers from a sprained knee and could not recover for the derby. However, he will have David Villa back after the Spanish international missed their previous clash against Real Sociedad.
Los Colchoneros sit second on La Liga after having won all their six matches, but with a worst goal record that Barcelona. Their main threat will be Diego Costa, who is in the best moment of his career, having scored seven goals so far in the league.
Atletico ended a 14-year and 25-game run without victory against their arch-rivals when they beat them last May in the Copa del Rey final at Santiago Bernabeu. They will certainly be looking to make it two in a row as they return to their neighbours’ stadium.
Los Blancos trailed them for two points in the table and a win would put them five points away, confirming Atletico as a candidate to win La Liga’s title.
Real Madrid: Lopez; Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Carvajal; Modric, Khedira; Ronaldo, Isco, Di Maria; Benzema.
Atletico Madrid: Courtois; Filipe Luis, Godin, Miranda, Juanfran; Koke, Tiago, Gabi, Turan; Villa, Costa.