Atletico Madrid - Real Madrid: Simeone and Ancelotti - same city but different worlds

Atletico Madrid - Real Madrid: Simeone and Ancelotti - same city but different worlds
A lot is on the line for both sides this weekend
A lot is on the line for both sides this weekend
Atletico and Real Madrid will face off in what promises to be a dramatic derby this Sunday. Real lead LaLiga with a perfect record (five wins from five). Atletico, on the other hand, have yet to find their rhythm this season.

“Madrid overflows with literature, poetry and music on all four sides, so much so that she herself is a literary character”, said Ernest Hemingway.

Madrid also overflows with football, competitiveness, and passion. Those three ideas run deep through the two most popular teams in the city: Real and Atletico

On Sunday, the renamed Civitas Metropolitano Stadium will host one of the most exciting games in LaLiga: the first Madrid derby of the season.

This derby is set to showcase different ways to understand, create, and play football. On one hand, the Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti, implements a variable and expressive system.

On the other hand, Diego Simeone is committed to the disciplined, defensive structure that won Atletico the league title two seasons ago.

Besides their respective styles, there is a second major point of difference between the two managers: their results so far this season.

Ancelotti will arrive at derby day with his team in phenomenal form. Real Madrid have won the last seven games in a row; the club leads Group F of the Champions League and sits atop LaLiga with a perfect record in both competitions.

Whereas Atletico Madrid have started the season with much less to celebrate and they need to wake up urgently. The derby is a perfect opportunity to shake off their average form.  

Diego Simeone's men have had an up-and-down season to date. In LaLiga, the team are sitting in seventh place in the table with a record three victories, one draw and one defeat (at home against Villarreal). Not a terrible start but nothing to write home about either.

In the group stage of the Champions League, Atletico fell to a disappointing defeat in Leverkusen. The German side beat Atleti with two goals in the last five minutes of the game.

What's more, the fans have been concerned about the performances of some key players. 

Joao Felix specifically, is one of those players who seem to be on the decline this year. In the pre-season, Simeone put his confidence in the Portuguese forward but the ex-Benfica player hasn't been able to deliver what his coach expects. Felix still hasn't scored this season.

Alvaro Morata has been leading the line with Antoine Griezmann playing a cameo role off the bench and Thomas Lemar, Angel Correa and Mateus Cunha providing support.

While Atletico need to wake up, Real Madrid seem to be up and running despite the possibly continued absence of Karim Benzema. The striker suffered a knee injury against Celtic in the first game of the Champions League.

Ancelotti, who gave the Frenchman the armband, has used Rodrygo and Eden Hazard in the space left by Benzema. The Brazilian and the Belgian though, haven't made the same impact as the ex-Lyon ace. Without their star striker, the team played badly for periods of the matches against Mallorca and Leipzig.

Federico Valverde and Vinicius Jr have provided glimmers of hope, however. The Uruguayan has scored two fantastic goals that lit up the Bernabeu while the electric Brazilian is playing with creativity and flair. 

This Madrid derby is a tale of one city but, at least in this case, a game of two different stories.

While Real Madrid have had a great start to the season, Atletico are still finding their feet. Don't be fooled by the form book though, Atletico have players that can cause a lot of damage to Ancelotti's team.

The derby is always a special occasion, even more so if it is the first of a season. And if we've learnt anything from previous editions, it's that anything can happen when these two old enemies meet.