Not so long ago, Madrid derbies used to signify one-way traffic, with Real Madrid overpowering their neighbours in every single game. Derbies were like a three-point takeaway for the Los Blancos. So much so that Madridistas held a banner which read: “Wanted: a worthy rival for a decent derby.”And that was the jinx. It must have been the perfect insult to get Atleti’s blood boiling and become the worthy rival and serve up more than a decent derby. The tide has now turned so much that it won’t be surprising if we see the same kind of banner on Saturday – the only difference being this time the Atleti fans will be holding it up.From the most one-sided derby to the most vicious derby in Europe’s top five leagues – the Madrid derby is brutal, entertaining and as compact as it can get. Diego Simeone has totally changed the fate of this encounter – he is the only Atletico manager in this century to have won against Real Madrid. There is no manager in the world who has inflicted his own nature on the club he manages better than the Argentine. The Rojiblancos are exactly like he was as a player: tough and ruthlessly determined. His all-guns-blazing approach has, thus far, gotten the better of Carlo Ancelotti’s calm and composed approach.While these two will face off against each other tomorrow, here we look at the 5 factors that could decide the Madrid derby:
Starting with the controversial aspect of the game. Atletico Madrid are known for a very rough-and-tough approach towards the game. They will harass their opponents and pressurize them till death. Hard and no-holds-barred tackles are their trademark. It is Atletico physicality, mixed with superb efficiency, that have helped them prevail over their archrivals on previous occasions. And this is why the referee becomes the important factor of the game.
The referee for the game will be David Fernandez Borbalan. There will be a lot of pressure on the Spaniard as Madrid derbies are fiery encounters where the referee has to be on his toes.
If Borbalan lets the game flow without calling many fouls, then it will be very advantageous for Simeone’s men. If, however, the referee chooses to protect the players more, the game will be very slow-paced with many intervals and a bit more beneficial to the away side.