Real Madrid already have LaLiga sewn up, but their bitter rivals have so much to play for this Sunday night. Atletico Madrid are in a fight to finish in the top four and maintain their standing as a Champions League club. If they can defeat their crosstown rivals at the Wanda Metropolitano this weekend in LaLiga, then they will get a HUGE three points on the road to finishing top four.
As for Real Madrid, they are on a high after defeating Manchester City in an incredible comeback in the Champions League semifinal, and they are expected to make rotations. That could give an opening to Atleti, but as we have seen this season, nobody should count Real’s backups out.
GK Andriy Lunin
It seemed like Carlo Ancelotti would want to keep Thibaut Courtois sharp and start him against his former club Atletico Madrid, but he is going with the bold move to start Andriy Lunin in El Derbi. It is hard not to like that decision either, because Lunin is a very talented goalkeeper and a big opportunity like this could be great for his career development. Let’s see if the young man is up to the task.
LB Ferland Mendy
Although Ferland Mendy needs the rest, it is risky to start Marcelo against a team with Atleti’s attacking talent. Angel Correa has a serious eye for goal and an ability to create goals at any position he is playing. A likely start on the right wing, Mendy is needed to keep Correa in check.
CB Nacho Fernandez
Nacho Fernandez has been up-and-down this season, but he showed the heart of a lion once more in the Champions League, playing out of his mind against Manchester City’s elite attack. He did not put a foot wrong during the decisive stages of the game, playing a key role in Madrid heading to the Champions League Final. Nacho could be the key man against Atleti this weekend.
CB Jesus Vallejo
After being the butt of jokes, Jesus Vallejo has deservingly earned massive plaudits for his strong defensive performances against both Espanyol and, at the end of the match, Manchester City. Vallejo could be seen as a weak point whom Atletico target on Sunday night at the Wanda, but he may also have another great game in him. Imagine the discussions if Vallejo has a big game in El Derbi. We may be talking about the potential of him to stay instead of leaving in the summer window.
RB Lucas Vazquez
It makes a ton of sense to rotate out Dani Carvajal against Atletico Madrid. We have seen Lucas Vazquez hold his own against this opponent before, though, of course, we have also seen him roasted by Yannick Carrasco on the left side of the Rojiblancos’ formation.
Vazquez has been solid lately. Carvajal was at his vintage best against City, rising to the occasion in every sense of the word. But he has earned some rest.