Fourth take on third in La Liga as Atletico Madrid and Sevilla go head-to-head in what should be a cracking contest at the Vicente Calderon this weekend.
Both sides are unbeaten after their opening five matches and just two points separate them going into the contest, but one faultless record has to give if either team looks to stake a claim for top spot by the end of the weekend.
The defending champions are still to lose but have had a somewhat mixed start to the campaign. Despite winning the Madrid derby at the Bernabeu, they had to work hard for single-goal victories over Almeria and newly-promoted Eibar.
Their other two domestic games have seen them held by Rayo Vallecano and a vast-improving Celta Vigo, while they also suffered a surprise opening UEFA Champions League defeat at Greek side Olympiacos.
Winning tight matches by a single goal became Diego Simeone’s men’s trademark last season on their way to the title, but we have only seen that in small patches so far this year. But they will take confidence by the fact that they are still unbeaten without really reaching the peaks of their performance, and of course have the scalp of their bitter rivals Real under their belts.
Their opponents are currently two points above them in the table, with a slightly inferior goal difference keeping them behind Valencia and Barcelona in the table.
Sevilla in good form
The current UEFA Europa League holders are on a five-game winning streak in all competitions, but without doubt this will be their sternest test so far.
After losing to Real in the UEFA Super Cup, a late equaliser denied them of victory against Valencia on the opening weekend. It has been very much one-way traffic as far as they are concerned since then, with Carlos Bacca leading the way up front with four goals.
Espanyol, Getafe, Cordoba and Real Sociedad have all been disposed of since then, while last season’s Dutch Eredivisie runners-up Feyenoord were beaten 2-0 in the opening game of the Europa League title defence.
Expect a thrilling contest
Both sides play good football. They don’t exactly blow their opponents away like Real have done in recent matches but their style of play is effective and, most importantly, they get results.
This fixture has proved to be a bad-tempered encounter in recent years though with Sevilla picking up a total of nine red cards at Vicente Calderon alone, including six in their last three visits here.
Hopefully the football will do the talking on Saturday evening and if it does, then we should be in for a thrilling contest.
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