This weekend sees the second El Derbi of the season when Atlético Madrid host Real at Wanda Metropolitano, and the result will probably go a long way towards determining the destination of this season’s La Liga title.
Real go into the game in slightly better form than Atlético, but Atlético are in the boss seat at the top of the table, five points clear of second placed Barcelona, and city rivals Real who are in third place. And crucially, Atlético have a game in hand. Three points for Atlético could just about put the La Liga title out of Real’s reach, according to the latest free betting tips available.
Diego Simeone has been in charge of Atlético for almost a decade, and his tenure has proven to be a bit of a golden era for the club. Simeone has led Atlético to seven major honours – including two Europa League triumphs – and also a Champions League final. But although Simeone’s decade at the helm has been trophy-laden, they have only won the one La Liga title back in 2013/14.
Since Simeone took charge of Atlético, they have only finished outside of the top three once, and in the last three seasons, have finished runners-up twice. What has characterised those last three campaigns is that despite challenging for the title, they have not been particularly high scorers, and have scored less than sixty goals in each season, relying more on their solidity at the back.
This lack of firepower in the final third was behind the club’s decision to sign Luis Suárez from Barcelona. Suárez has scored sixteen goals in twenty-one appearances so far, and Atlético are averaging more or less two goals a game, while their defensive record is as solid as ever. The decision to recruit Suárez seems to be paying dividends.
Suárez is entering the final days of his playing career, but he’s still one of the hungriest players around, and he’ll be desperate to win silverware with Atlético, particularly given his status as a former Barcelona star.
And so back to this weekend. Atlético have home advantage, and although Real are in slightly better form, when Atlético have experienced a wobble or bad result, they have tended to bounce back quickly and robustly. They have won just two out of their last six matches, and so they will be hoping to use El Derbi as the springboard to end their season on a title-winning high. Given Atlético’s position at the top of the tree and their home advantage in the weekend’s El Derbi, you’d have to say that the La Liga title is theirs to lose.