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La Liga: Are the Capital Clubs Just Playing for Pride?


La Liga: Are the Capital Clubs Just Playing for Pride?

Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid

It’s derby time in the Spanish capital, but the obvious question for SBOBET fans, is this: are both sides just playing for pride even with three months of the season remaining?

Certainly, the La Liga title is all but a pipe dream for the mighty Real as they struggle to life without Cristiano Ronaldo and, to a certain extent, former manager Zinedine Zidane.

Meanwhile, across the city, rivals Atletico continue to overachieve and split the Barcelona-Real duopoly but are still six points adrift of the summit following last weekend’s reverse to Real Betis.

Talking Points

In fairness to Atletico, that defeat was only their second loss in 31 games and their first in 19 in the league.

Yet it was a big missed opportunity to close the gap after the leaders dropped points at home. This could potentially be doubly costly as Real saw off Alaves, which means they will climb into second with a win in this one.

That means it’s important that on-loan striker Alvaro Morata hits the ground running as he makes his home debut for Atletico against the club he left as a hero 18 months ago.

Although the former is doubtful, the hosts also hope to welcome back midfielders Koke and Saul from injury, not to mention skipper Diego Godin.

Moreover, Atletico have only dropped four points at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano which has become their stronghold so far this season.

The Rojiblancos have gathered 29 points at home, more than any other LaLiga team, including Barcelona, who has collected two fewer.

Coach Diego Simeone will know that victory in this one would take his side five points clear of Real, a gap which their neighbours may struggle to pull back.

Real themselves have shown signs of improvement under Santiago Solari, even if I would use the term’ doubtful’ if asked to describe the La Liga 2019 betting odds on him being in the job next term.

Their midweek 1-1 draw at Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg was proof of that, although it must be remembered they were up against opponents without Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele.

There is also the uncertainty over midfielder and fan favourite Isco who has not featured in four games since the turn of the year and has racked up 767 minutes as a substitute in all competition.

Despite this, they have regained their form under Solari, are on their best winning streak of the season, have retained their world champion crown, and are, slowly, remedying their position in LaLiga.

In fact, Solari has secured 18 wins from 24 since he took over.

If the two clubs from the capital are that evenly matched, perhaps a second draw between them this season awaits – something which will further play into Barcelona’s hands.

History

It must be stressed that the goalless draw at the Bernabeu in September would not rank among the La Liga 2019 highlights.

Yet, seven games in, Real were joint top of the table at the time.

Things subsequently went awry.

This will be the third Madrid derby of the season.

Atletico hold the upper hand, having preceded the draw at Real with a victory in the UEFA Super Cup Final at the start of the season in Tallinn, Estonia.

The last four league meetings have all ended level, three of them at the Bernabeu with Real last triumphing at Atletico in November 2016 – the night when a Ronaldo hat-trick showed why he was the best player on the planet at the time.

Historically, Real have won twice as many of their clashes (100 wins to 50 with 45 draws).

Yet that is to be expected. Simeone has turned Atletico into a Spanish superpower in recent years, and this weekend would be a good time for Los Rojiblancos to prove it.

Betting Tip

Atletico Madrid, Asian Handicap -0.50 @ 2.40

Atletico start as slight favourites.

The 1X2 odds have them priced @ 2.40, compared to Real @ 2.98, while you can get odds on a fifth successive league draw @ 3.15.

The fact they are so closely matched is reflected on the Double Chance odds, where the best available deal is Real or Draw at a lowly @ 1.52.

A repeat of the goalless draw earlier this season – correct score 0-0 – will pay out @ 8.75 and just one goal – total goal 0-1 – @ 3.00

An attractive bet with Asian Handicap betting is Real 0.00 @ 2.28, but I just see Atletico wanting this a bit more.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

 


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