Another year, December 12th is the chosen date to play ‘El Derbi’ and, as usual, there is a lot to battle for. Atlético were on top of the table last year and this time Real Madrid have a huge opportunity ahead of them in order to put the title away.
Even though they are the only club that have recovered the controversial postponed fixture, Real Madrid’s distance towards their chasers is wide and a victory in tonight’s game would knock out their main opponent —considering the roster’s level and the recent record —.
The difference on last year’s situation is on the pressure on both sides. Real Madrid are aware that a draw —or even a defeat— do not change their position in the race for la liga. However, Atlético must win at the Bernabéu and they have not pulled that off since. 2016.
On the other hand, Real Madrid’s dynamic can’t be compared to the rest of the teams, including Simeone’s. Even though they have not performed their best in some games, Ancelotti’s squad has grabbed the three points all the way long and, except for a surprise, we can’t see any other rival with the capacity to put up with the pace and take advantage from negative scores.
Golden individual performances for Real Madrid:
The chance ahead of Real Madrid is mostly due to the influence from some players’ individual performances that are being outstanding. Apart from Benzema, Courtois’ saves are leading his team to the title.
The Belgian is at the peak of his career at the age of 29 and is currently the best goalkeeper in the world. His performing has allowed Real Madrid to have more points than they actually deserve. It is difficult to find a keeper that has that much influence on positive scores and that makes the difference in the long term.
In addition, Vinicius’ revolution is another reason to believe that it is all in Real Madrid’s hands. I still want to be cautious with the Brazilian; but he is not making it easy at all. His 2021/2022 version is a reality and not a sporadic moment. Apart from his scoring stats, which are astonishing, Vini’s progress as a footballer is being determinant.
An irregular defense for Real Madrid:
Courtois’ main performing is in some way a cause of the problems that the ‘Whites’ have on defense. It is true that the order has been recovered in the last few weeks, but there are some lacks that do not match up with the ability from Alaba and Éder Militão to offer unexpected shows, taking into account the few confidence they showed in the first months into the competition.
The irregularity is the main obstacle for Real Madrid to battle for the Champions League. However, when the Austrian and the Brazilian are in shape, doubts fade away. In addition, the extraordinary level from Dani Carvajal after returning from an injury is being an extra boost.
A right work in defense will benefit the offensive display, as subtracting defensive tasks to Casemiro/Kroos/Modrić will make them more dangerous.
Win = solved league?
The context is appropriate and numbers do not lie. No team has the conditions right now to come back such a big lead. It is not enough with a very talented roster, as it requires a high competition level.
We mist point out that Ancelotti even the points he earned himself in the 2014/2015 campaign against Real Sociedad and one less point than Zidane in the 2016/2017, when they lifted the trophy.
For all these reasons, the Italian coach and his players can enjoy of the chance to be on verge of the title in December, at the Bernabéu and against their neighbor. The scenario couldn’t be better. Let´s enjoy ‘El Derbi’.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: José Manuel Calviño.
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