Real Madrid host Atletico Madrid at the Bernabeu on Saturday in the biggest Madrid derby for many years.
For the first time since 1999 Atleti go into a derby ahead of Real on points, eight points ahead to be specific, with the 2nd placed Rojiblancos looking much likelier to mount a credible title challenge than the 3rd placed Merengues at this point.
However to sustain their good form Diego Simeone’s side will have to overturn a woeful record in the fixture, as you also have to back to 1999 to find their last win over their arch rivals.
President Enrique Cerezo seemed all too aware of that when sending out mixed messages on Friday.
“I will make it clear, though, Atletico are going for the win. But, unless we lose, any outcome will be good. Are we settling for a point? I tell you that everyone at Atletico thinks the same, from the Coach to the last fan.”
Defeat would be disastrous for Jose Mourinho’s men given that they have already lost more games this season than they did in the whole of last term.
“I think that if there is any team that can turn around a situation like this, it’s Real Madrid,” stated defender Alvaro Arbeloa. “Since the arrival of Simeone Atleti have completely changed, today they are probably one of the best teams in Europe.”
Kick off: Saturday December 1, 9.00 (BST)