Bipolar derby with Vinicius at the epicenter

Vinicius, celebrating a goal. / Susana Vera (Reuters)

Matchday 6

A Real Madrid uncontrollable to date visits a hesitant Atlético in a high-voltage clash heated in its prelude by the controversy over the Brazilian's dances

Oscar Bellot

Two days after celebrating its first five years of existence as Atlético's lair, the Metropolitano is preparing to host a clash whose voltage has reached disturbing levels in the prelude. Vinicius's dances, a reflection of the joy and passion with which one of the most unbalanced footballers on the planet enjoys his profession, have been transformed by his detractors into a weapon with which to shake the Nirvana in which he is installed Real Madrid since the end of last year with the extraordinary triplet of titles made up of the Spanish Super Cup, the League and the Champions League. The initial flash, produced last weekend on the occasion of the
visit of Majorca the Santiago Bernabéu and the scuffles that the carioca had with players from the vermilion team and with his coach, has given way to a cannonade that threatens to blow up a bipolar derby.

Because Atlético and Real Madrid arrive at the meeting with conflicting spirits. Simeone's team, five points behind a hitherto irrepressible leader, comes with the ballast of an indefinite style. The good omens of the preseason have been forgotten, buried by the sea of ​​doubts that have thrown the first seven official dates of the course. Ancelotti's team, on the other hand, maintains a cruising speed, counting the eight appearances he has registered in all competitions as wins, which is the Whites' best campaign opening in more than half a century.

The current champion of the League and current king of Europe has not known defeat since
would succumb on May 8, precisely at the Metropolitano, with a penalty goal by Yannick Carrasco, a day after Ancelotti's soldiery certified the league match. That was the first triumph of the mattresses over their neighbors in the area belonging to the San Blas-Canillejas district, after four failed assaults by Cholo's troops. Since then, the meringues have recorded two draws and ten wins among all tournaments, including the full eight at the dawn of the campaign in progress.

After successfully overcoming that lawsuit, Atlético has collected six wins, two draws and as many defeats. These last two have been added by the Cholo block this season: against Villarreal in the League and against Bayer Leverkusen, five days ago, in the Champions League. The stumble against the aspirin squad once again exposed the weaknesses of a hesitant team, trapped in the troubles of its coach, with structural deficits and forced to live with the grotesque 'Griezmann case'. The most decisive player in the rojiblanco locker room has become a mere revulsive due to the demands of the offices, reluctantly attended by Simeone.

The Griezmann area, white territory

Circumscribed the participation of the French attacker to that final half hour that the mattress directive recommends to pressure Barça or avoid, ultimately, the purchase agreed in its day with the Barça entity, Atlético does not have enough offensive audacity for now to compensate the vulnerabilities of their defensive mortar, an area especially affected by physical problems that, on this occasion, will leave Giménez and Savic, their highest-ranking central defenders, out of the derby, as well as former Madrid player Reguilón. He receives almost four times more shots than last season and, although the accumulation of troops in a low block mitigates the damage in that facet, it also draws resources when it comes to biting the rival. The good news for the red and white parish is Oblak's return under sticks.

Benzema did not suffer the same fate, the most sensitive casualty of a Real Madrid team that exudes confidence. The whites have the second highest block in LaLiga Santander and the third defensive line that is farthest from their own goal, according to data from Beyond Stats and Mediacoach. They are also the team that registers the most total passes, that executes the most deliveries in the last third of the field and that accumulates the most shots per game. This last aspect is greatly aided by his ability to steal from the opponent's ground, an aspect that has been decisive in eight of the fifteen goals he has scored so far in the league.

The whites, who recovered Militao, were devastating in the second half. Nine of those fifteen league goals have come after 60 minutes, which is now known at Atlético as the Griezmann zone, and they haven't conceded a single one after the interlude. Ancelotti's team is less reliable in the early stages, precisely where Simeone's team still has an immaculate defensive record and has established himself as a premature scorer with three goals in the first fifteen minutes. The derby also dances in that dichotomy between an Atlético that gets up early and is worse at night than its opponent, and a Real Madrid that is lazy in the preface but lethal in the epilogue.

Likely lineups:

  • Athletic:
    Oblak, Nahuel, Felipe, Witsel, Reinildo, Saúl, Kondogbia, Correa, Koke, Joao Félix and Cunha.

  • Real Madrid:
    Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy, Tchouaméni, Modric, Kroos, Valverde, Rodrygo and Vinicius.

  • Referee:
    Munuera Montero (Andalusian Committee).

  • Hour:
    9:00 p.m.

  • Stadium:
    Metropolitan.

  • TV:
    Movistar LaLiga.

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