Real’s winning start to undergo Atletico exam in Madrid derby

Real's winning start to undergo Atletico exam in Madrid derby

BARCELONA – Real Madrid’s 100 per cent start to the La Liga season will be put to the test when they visit city rivals Atletico on Sunday.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side are the only team in Europe’s top five leagues with a perfect record – both domestically and in Europe – this campaign and they lead Barcelona at the top of the standings by two points after five games.

With talisman Karim Benzema a doubt for the game, having missed the side’s last two fixtures with a knee injury, Ancelotti called for others to step up to the plate with goals.

Midfielder Federico Valverde appears to have taken on the scoring mantle, netting two stunning finishes in consecutive games much to the Italian’s delight. 

“The strange thing is he only scored once last season, and I told him that if he didn’t score 10 goals this campaign given how he can hit a ball, he should cut up my coaching certificates,” laughed Ancelotti, when asked about the Uruguayan’s upturn in form in front of goal.

“However, our planning for the derby hasn’t changed. We’ll see how Benzema goes over the next days but we won’t take risks. If he can train properly then he’ll play, and if not, then he won’t.”

Defender Lucas Vazquez will miss the trip to the Metropolitano where Real will take on an Atletico side who have had an up and down start to the campaign.

After thrashing Celta Vigo 4-1 last weekend they were beaten 2-0 by Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Atletico defender Sergio Reguilon will miss a reunion with his former club because of a groin problem, while first-choice goalkeeper Jan Oblak (back), central defensive pair Stefan Savic (hamstring) and Jose Maria Gimenez (back) and midfielder Thomas Lemar (muscle problem) face late fitness tests.

Elsewhere Barca will look to put the pressure on Real when they host Elche on Saturday.

The Catalan side are looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the campaign against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday. 

(Editing by Toby Davis)

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