Analysing Real Madrid’s make or break derby clash with Atletico

As the fate of the La Liga title hangs in the balance, a crucial clash in the Spanish capital could settle it once and for all, we've taken a look at the key talking points.

Real Madrid stumbled over another hurdle in their pursuit of inner-city rivals Atletico at the top of La Liga as a last minute Vinicius Jr goal rescued a point against Real Sociedad on Monday, following another disappointing display.

Zinedine Zidane's side dominated the first half but weren't able to convert possession and chances into much-needed goals as Spanish winger Portu gave La Reales the lead before Vinicius' late equaliser on his 100th appearance for the club.

Another discouraging league result for Los Blancos leaves them five points behind Simeone's side having played one game more, as they remain in third place following Barcelona's impressive away win at the weekend.

Ultimately, if Real are to mount any form of legitimate title challenge in the latter stages of this season the outcome of their next match is season-defining - a highly-anticipated Madrid derby clash with the league leaders at the Wanda Metropolitano.

For large portions of this La Liga campaign, Diego Simeone's side have been almost untouchable, failing to win on just six occasions in 24 fixtures, with only two of these being losses.

However, three of the six matches in which they have dropped points have been in the last five games, as Los Colchoneros appear to be experiencing their first tenure of turbulence this season, providing Zidane's men with a glimmer of hope in the title race.

Bouncing back from recent inconsistencies, however, Atletico comfortably dispatched Villarreal at the weekend, and will now turn their attention towards stopping the efforts of their near neighbours to come between Atleti and a first league title win in seven seasons.

Will Zidane's men throw the title race wide open at the weekend? Or can Atletico secure a crucial victory that will further cement their status as champions to be?

Let's analyse the stats from the lengthy history between the two great clubs of Spain's capital city.

Stat attack

Of the 202 historic derby clashes between the two sides, Los Blancos boast the superior win ratio (52%) having won 105 matches since the first encounter in 1929. Atletico (24%) have just 50 victories by comparison and the two teams have drawn on 47 occasions.

Additionally, the statistics surrounding goals scored are also in favour of the Santiago Bernabeu outfit, scoring 352 of the total of 611 (57%) and Los Rojiblancos notching 259 (43%).

Despite Atletico's domestic superiority this season, Real have been somewhat of a thorn in their side in recent meetings between the two, with Simeone's side only winning once in their last 10 La Liga encounters.

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Unfortunately for Atleti, the home advantage is somewhat stifled in this instance as they h aven't defeated Zidane's men in a home league tie since the 2014/15 season, where they emerged 4-0 winners.

Real have kept seven clean sheets against Atletico in their last 10 league matches, will they be able to shut out the league leaders once more?

We've looked back at four historic derbies of the last 10 years.

Memorable matches

Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid (AET)

Champions League final

May 24, 2014

On the face of the 2014 Champions League final, it would appear as though Real Madrid comfortably humiliated Atletico on European football's grandest stage, yet the sequence of events in normal time directly juxtaposed this in what was a spectacular fixture at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.

Taking a colossal step towards their first Champions League title, Atletico took the lead when Uruguayan centre-half Diego Godin looped the ball over Iker Casillas from close range as Real's legendary goalkeeper was caught in no man's land.

With just seconds left on the clock, Simeone's side had valiantly protected their one-goal lead they obtained in the first half as the game went deep into stoppage time - all until Luka Modric stepped up to take a late corner in the 93rd minute.

As the Croatian's ball curled into the sea of red and white bodies packed into the penalty area, it was Real captain Sergio Ramos who leaped the highest - heading home to take the game into extra time, breaking Atletico hearts whilst cueing pandemonium from the sea of Real supporters in the process.

Visibly still shell-shocked by the late goal in which they'd conceded, Atleti crumbled in extra-time as they conceded three goals in the 30 added minutes, eventually slumping to a 4-1 defeat on the night.

Late goals from Gareth Bale and Marcelo preceded a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty in the game's dying seconds as Los Blancos completed a chaotic comeback to taste European glory once more.

Atletico Madrid 0-3 Real Madrid

La Liga

November 19, 2016

Scoring the 39th hat-trick of his career, Cristiano Ronaldo was on hand once again to help Real reign supreme in the Spanish capital's derby as he left the Vicente Calderon with another match ball, to extend their lead at the top of La Liga.

The Portuguese forward opened the scoring with a trademark free-kick in the 23rd minute - deflecting off the wall, it deceived Oblak and curled into the goal to give the visitors an early lead.

After adding the second from the penalty spot, CR7 completed his hat-trick in the 77th minute when he got on the right side of Gareth Bale's cross to ensure a convincing win over Simeone's men.

Leaving the Bernabeu as the highest ever scorer in the Madrid derby with 22, this occasion saw Ronaldo overtake Alfredo Di Stefano for the first time as he took his tally to 18.

Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid (Real win 5-3 on penalties)

Champions League final

May 28, 2016

Two years on from their dramatic Champions League final encounter in Lisbon, the fierce inner-city rivals would contest the fate of the 2016 trophy in Milan as a sold-out San Siro watched in awe.

Mirroring the outcome of their Portuguese showdown, neither Real or Atletico were able to settle the match in normal tie, having both found the net only once but ultimately it was the same side who prevailed.

Having scored a dramatic late equaliser in the last final, it was Sergio Ramos who grabbed the opener on this particular occasion, controversially poking the ball past Jan Oblak amongst persistent appeals for offside from the Atletico players.

After frantically pursuing an equaliser for over an hour, Atletico got the reward when Yannick Carrasco came off the bench to draw the tie at one apiece in the 80th minute to take the game to extra time.

Following another stalemate once the additional half hour was up, the two sides were set to engage in a battle of nerves, skill and wit as the game rolled on into a penalty shootout.

With Real taking the first penalty, all seven of the opening spot-kicks were scored until Atletico's Juanfran broke the chain when his effort struck the post, leaving Cristiano Ronaldo to convert the winning penalty as Los Blancos secured a record-equalling 11th European title.

Real Madrid 3-0 Atletico Madrid

Champions League semi-final, first leg

May 2, 2017

Love him or hate him, there are almost no big game players in world soccer quite like Mr Cristiano Ronaldo.

Proving he was exactly that in a semi-final first-leg Champions League clash with Atletico, the legendary forward scored a heroic hat-trick to give Los Blancos a 3-0 advantage going into the away leg.

Real's domination began when CR7 headed home a superb Casemiro cross, and continued throughout the 90 minutes, as they put one foot in yet another Champions League final.

Despite creating a handful of chances, the home side went over an hour without scoring as fears began to arise that they may have been unable to extend their advantage, until the Portuguese talisman grabbed his second of the night - angling a ferocious half-volley from 16 yards out past a helpless Jan Oblak.

Four minutes from normal time, and Madrid's highest ever goalscorer completed another historic hat-trick for them, controlling Lucas Vazquez's cutback to finish with ease as he laid Real's inner-city rivals to waste.

Securing their 12th victory in the competition, Zidane's side were successful in Cardiff as they vanquished Juventus 4-1 to reiterate their legacy as the kings of the Champions League.

Tip of the fixture

In one of the most important Madrid derby's of recent years, form will go out the window and nerves are certain to run amok as both teams clamour to improve their chances of lifting the La Liga trophy, and for me this will lead to them cancelling each other out, in entertaining fashion.

Paddy Power are offering odds of 21/10 for both teams to leave the Wanda Metropolitano with a point each.

(Odds correct at time of writing, subject to change).

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