CRISTIANO RONALDO will return for Real Madrid today (3pm) but the European champions will be without James Rodriguez, Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Marcelo.
Nacho Fernandez and Rafael Varane are set to start at the centre of the Real defence while Fabio Coentrao is fit once again and will replace Brazilian Pepe at left-back.
Ronaldo, who turned 30 on Thursday, missed victories against Real Sociedad and Sevilla after his sending off at Cordoba and his availability is key with Real missing so many stars.
Atletico have picked up 11 league wins in their last 14 matches and once again it will be a fiercely-fought affair between the two city rivals.
Diego Simeone’s side are unbeaten against their neighbours in five contests this season and are 19-20 not to lose this afternoon. To win they are 9-5 at Paddy Power and Coral.
Real Madrid, a best are the only side in the Spanish top flight yet to play out a stalemate this season (W18 L3) and Atletico have gone 17 league games without sharing the spoils (W13 L4).
So picking a winner is tough so once again I’ll focus on goals. Real Madrid have scored at least once in each of their last 22 league games but lost 2-0 at the Vicente Calderon in the Spanish Cup last month and 1-0 in the Supercup at the start of the season.
I reckon they’ll score today but with their defence weakened they’re likely to concede so both to net looks a no-brainer but pays just 2-3 at Ladbrokes.
Over 2.5 goals has come in six times out of the last 10 in the Vicente but I’ll take it at 4-5 with bet365 and Ladbrokes.
Ronaldo is 9-2 at Paddy Power to score first while Fernando Torres, who looks dangerous again, is 15-2 at Ladbrokes. However, the player I’m banking is Antoine Griezmann at 15-2 with BetVictor as he’s also been in fine form.
Atletico Madrid not to lose
Over 2.5 goals
(4-5, bet365, Ladbrokes)
Griezmann to score first
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