The Madrid derby is upon us again and after last season’s Copa del Rey final one thing is for certain this time around: millions will be watching.

For over a decade and a half, Madrid’s lesser known side has always been in the shadows of its more illustrious neighbour.

The city has always been white: Galactico white, for that matter. Real Madrid won everything there was to win and their city rivals could only bask in their ‘big brother's’ glory and awesomeness.

For 14 years Atletico Madrid never mustered a win over their rivals Real. It became so cast-in-stone that the fixture joined life’s other certainties ; death, taxes and a definite three points for Real.

Fast forward to Copa del Rey final

2013, many, many derbies later, and the script was changed. Atletico Madrid faced Real for bragging rights and a chance to finish the season with silverware. What followed tipped the world on its head.

Atletico Madrid refused to conform and instead snatched a dramatic and fully-deserved win for the first time in 25 meetings and a trophy to boot.

Real Madrid were left dumbstruck and licking their wounds. Saturday’s clash and subsequent derby clashes will now have renewed appeal and intrigue.

Atletico sit highest in the La Liga

With a 100% record, Atletico for the first time look like genuine challengers not just to their cross-town rivals but to Barcelona as well.

A lot has happened between that final and tomorrow, with Madrid ditching trophy-less Jose Mourinho and bringing in Carlo Ancelotti and new signings - as is customary for the
white half of the clubs - Isco, Illaramendi and world record signing Bale.

Atletico did some transfer business of their own, losing the deadly Falcao to the lure of French riches in Monaco but bringing in David Villa from Barcelona to replace him - a shrewd move it must be said.

However, it is Diego Costa who has truly caught the eye having struck seven times already.

With all his support options - Villa, Arda Turan and Cristian Rodriguez - able to supply whipped crosses or nuanced through-balls, and Real's centre-back pairing of Pepe and Sergio Ramos susceptible to rash decisions, Costa will fancy his chances of continuing his hot streak.

Real Madrid’s forward line has been significantly added to, what with the arrival of Gareth Bale, but it is still the customary Cristiano Ronaldo who is their main man.

He has begun the season in typical Ronaldo fashion and even in the wake of Mesut Ozil’s departure, Madrid have continued to flourish.

One of the main reasons why the loss of the mercurial German has not, at least as yet, been felt, is a certain Spaniard starlet by the name Isco.

Acquired from Malaga on the back of two fantastic seasons for them and a stellar display in the European Under-21 Championship. To say he has taken to life on the much, much bigger stage that is the Bernabeu like a duck to water, would be a huge understatement.

The summer signing from Malaga has been Real's best performer this season, impressing so much that former Real great Zinedine Zidane paid him the compliment of comparing him with himself. His silk-booted touch and deft creative instincts, the parallel is certainly fathomable.

With four strikes and 12 chances created already this season, Isco has become Madrid’s fulcrum of creativity and forward play…at just 21.

As good a side as they may be, Real - as demonstrated by Wednesday's fortunate escape from jail against Elche - are some way from being a flawless one.

Their defence is still some way off being watertight, especially down the flanks. Diego Simeone is a smart and apt tactician, he will surely have noted this and may as well set up his side to counter down the wings with the pace of Rodriguez and ingenuity of Arda Turan.

He will need his backline to be on their best form to neutralize the threat of Ronaldo and the midfield to press high up to deny Isco, Di Maria and Modric time and space to operate.

Atletico know they have to produce as close to perfect a performance as they can in order to beat Madrid.

Having finally rid themselves of the curse of perennial defeat, the table-topping underdogs will face the match with renewed belief and buoyancy.

They should after all, they have had a solid start, inspiring team spirit, a tact manager and an opposition that is still in construction. There is every chance that they could enter Sunday morning with their league record still without blemish.

Roll on derby day.


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Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/130seMa

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
#La Liga
#Real Madrid
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