Real hosts Atletico in Madrid derby
Madrid, Spain – Real Madrid hosts Atletico Madrid in La Liga action on Saturday with the visitors hoping to overturn a winless run against Los Blancos that has lasted over ten years.
Atletico Madrid has not beaten Real since a 3-1 victory over its storied rival in the 1999-2000 season, and if Real's home dominance thus far in La Liga is any indication, that streak looks set continue.
A perfect record at the Bernabeu and 4.25 goals scored at home so far this season has powered Real Madrid to the top of the table with 31 points.
With eight-straight wins in La Liga, the leaders are firing on all cylinders. Real has hit for more than twice as many goals as their opponents, netting 42 this season in comparison to Atletico's 17.
Atletico's form has been up and down throughout the campaign. Through 12 league matches, Los Rojiblancos have won four, lost four, and tied four, leaving the club in ninth place in the table with 16 points.
While history and past performances certainly do not bode well for Saturday's result for Atletico, star striker Falcao will give manager Gregorio Manzano a selection headache if the Colombian is not fit for the match. He picked up a muscle injury on international duty.
But Real Madrid, meanwhile, is only getting stronger, as Angel Di Maria and Marcelo are nearing full fitness after sustaining muscle injuries, and Nuri Sahin could be set to make his full league debut after joining the Bernabeu outfit in the summer.
Barcelona has to be considered Real's main title competition to this point. The Catalans sit second with 28 points and will hope to maintain their unbeaten La Liga record this season when they travel to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez to face Getafe on Saturday. Rayo Vallecano also hosts Valencia in Saturday's third and final match.
On Sunday, Real Betis will look to put a stop to its poor run of form when it hosts Real Sociedad. After kicking off the season with four wins, Betis has lost seven of its last eight La Liga contests to drop to 13th in the table.
Despite its fourth-place position, Levante has lost three successive matches in La Liga, while Sporting Gijon is unbeaten in its last five league contests. The two teams will meet at the Ciutat de Valencia on Sunday.
Athletic Bilbao, unbeaten in its last eight games in the Spanish league, will host last-place Granada on Sunday, while Real Zaragoza will hope to snap its five-game winless streak when it hosts Sevilla.
Also on Sunday, Mallorca entertains Racing at the Estadio Son Moix, while Espanyol and Osasuna, separated by just two points, meet at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys.
Finally, on Monday, free-spending Malaga hosts an under-achieving Villarreal team at the Estadio La Rosaleda.