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Despite the fact that September has not even come to an end yet, there is a growing sensation that this Madrid derby in La Liga could be a decisive one in the title race. Real Madrid went top as sole leaders for the first time in midweek whilst Atlético Madrid have stuttered, dropping points in two of their past three games, all while Barcelona have had their worst start in 25 years.

This tactical preview will provide analysis of the tactics which Diego Simeone and Zinedine Zidane will consider when looking to exploit the weaknesses of each other’s teams, with the three points providing a fine incentive for both managers, who both opted to rest key figures in their midweek matches.

Predicted Line-Ups

Atlético Madrid: Jan Oblak; Kieran Trippier, Stefan Savić, José María Giménez, Renan Lodi; João Félix, Koke, Thomas Partey, Saúl Ñíguez; Vitolo Machín, Diego Costa.

The biggest doubt for Simeone will be whether to gamble on Thomas Lemar’s fitness after missing the past three games through injury. If selected, Félix can line up centrally alongside Costa in attack, a role where he has been more comfortable. Other than that, it looks likely that he will stick to the players that he knows and trusts most, selecting the so-called gala XI which started the campaign with Vitolo’s impressive form from the bench earning him a call up.

Real Madrid: Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Nacho; Toni Kroos, Casemiro, James Rodríguez; Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard.

Zidane will likely select his strongest possible XI and despite the disappointment of Paris, that could mean a return of “BBH” in attack. All three were rested in midweek, hinting that they could return this weekend, alongside James. Should Ferland Mendy and Marcelo fail to recover, Nacho will be the more conservative and reliable option at left-back in their absence.

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Artwork by @chapulana

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