One of the biggest matches on the European fixture list takes place at the Bernabeu on Sunday night, as Real Madrid host bitter rivals Atlético Madrid in the Madrid derby!
A fantastic 2021-22 campaign to date has left Real Madrid top of La Liga with 39 points from their opening 16 matches, while Atlético Madrid are fourth, 10 points adrift of this weekend’s opponents.
Los Blancos are optimistic that Karim Benzema will be able to come back into the starting XI on Sunday, but boss, Carlo Ancelotti, is expected to leave it until the last minute before making a decision regarding the striker.
Benzema was absent in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) win against Inter Milan in midweek, due to the hamstring issue that he picked up against Real Sociedad last weekend. However, the league leaders are hopeful that the Frenchman will recover in time to start.
Dani Ceballos and Gareth Bale remain absent for the home side, but they are otherwise in good shape, with not many surprises expected when it comes to team selection.
Rodrygo and Vinícius Júnior should both start in advanced positions, while Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos are poised to link up with Casemiro in midfield once again.
As for Atlético, Luis Suárez is expected to miss out with the muscular injury that he sustained against Porto in the UCL, while Kieran Trippier and Stefan Savić remain unavailable for selection.
Diego Simeone could select Matheus Cunha, alongside Antoine Griezmann in the final third, with João Félix potentially starting on the bench. Meanwhile, Felipe is back from a UCL suspension and should come into the away side’s defence on Sunday.
Yannick Carrasco saw red against Porto last time out, but will be available to start here, while fit-again José Giménez should displace Central African Republic’s Geoffrey Kondogbia in the centre of the backline.
Our prediction for this one is for Real to edge a tight contest 1-0, with the goal coming in the second half.
Real Madrid possible starting XI:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militão, Alaba, Mendy; Modrić, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius
Atletico Madrid possible starting XI:
Oblak; Felipe, Giménez, Hermoso; Llorente, Lemar, Koke, De Paul, Carrasco; Griezmann, Cunha