One of the most consequential Madrid derbies in recent memory takes place today at the Wanda Metropolitano. Atletico Madrid host Real Madrid in La Liga, with Los Rojiblancos currently setting the pace at the top of the table but under increasing pressure from their city neighbours and Barcelona.

Atletico are five points clear of Madrid but just two clear of Barcelona, albeit with a game in hand on Madrid and two on Barcelona. Both are in better form than Atletico, who have lost one and won two of their previous five in La Liga. Both Barcelona and Madrid have won four of their last five.

Los Rojiblancos started the season on fire, but have faltered in recent times. Their traditionally adversarial mentality suits the underdog, the man on the shoulder as opposed to leading the pack. Retaining their mental fortitude will be essential should they intend on winning a second league title this century.

They certainly started well, taking the lead inside the opening 15 minutes. Marcos Llorente did superbly to cap an excellent passage of play by feeding El Pistolero, Luis Suarez, who supplied a typically deadly finish to give his team an early advantage.

This article first appeared on Football Espana and was syndicated with permission.

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