Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid played out a tense
Atleti and Madrid both pushed for the victory, but neither side were prepared to lose the contest late on, and a draw was a fair result for Diego Simeone and Zinedine Zidane.
Key Talking Point
Simeone is not known for his attacking, fluid style of football, and the first hour of this game proved no different. However, it was evident from the substitutions made by the Atleti boss that he wanted to see more from his team. Simone smelt blood.
Los Rojiblancos looked defensively resolute and relatively untroubled, and with Partey providing the perfect shield for his defence, Simeone brought on two forwards to frighten los Merengues. The brave change of tact suggested a potential power-shift in Madrid, as Zidane seemed happy to settle for the draw, but Atleti sensed determined to get one over their rivals.
Whilst the hosts were unable to unlock the Madrid door, Simeone’s tactical choices was a sign of Atleti’s self-confidence, and determination to stay relevant in the title race.
Substitutes: Correa (7), Lemar (6), Llorente (6)
STAR MAN – Thomas is having a Partey, and we’re all invited! The Atleti midfielder ran the show during an even first half, but his composure on the ball and ability to open up play was highly impressive.
Partey is a wonderful box-to-box midfielder, but tonight he produced a wonderfully disciplined display, sitting deep and dictating the tempo of los Rojiblancos’ play, whilst breaking up plenty of Real Madrid attacks in the process.
A brilliant player and the perfect man to anchor a midfield in the Madrid derby.
Key Talking Point
Despite initial worries about Madrid and their stuttering league form, the Spanish giants find themselves top of the table after seven games. There had been particular concerns about los Merengues’ defensive strength, and the pressure on Zidane had begun to grow.
Madrid have calmed fears surrounding their recent struggles, and seem to be ready to launch a genuine title challenge once again. The French boss is willing to put pragmatism and teamwork ahead of individual talent, and with Barca looking particularly frail away from home, the La Liga trophy could find its way back to the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time since 2017.
Substitutes: Modric (7), James (6), Jovic (N/A)
STAR MAN – It’s been a while since we have seen such a commanding performance from this man. At the top of his game, Sergio Ramos is the best in the business, but it’s been a while since the Spanish international has played at his highest level. On Saturday evening, Ramos was back to his best.
The man for the big occasion showed up once again to rough up Atleti’s dangerous forward-line of Costa and Felix, and marshalled his backline expertly. There was a time when a performance of this magnitude was a weekly occurrence, but time catches up with us all.
Still, it was a pleasure to witness such quality and leadership from captain Ramos.
Atleti face Lokomotiv Moscow in Russia as they continue their Champions League endeavours, and then los Rojiblancos travel to Valladolid on Sunday afternoon.
Real Madrid host Belgian side Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday evening before welcoming Granada to the Stadio Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon.