La Liga: Real, Atletico Share Spoils in Blistering Battle

By Aydin Reyhan
Real Madrid Fought Valiantly at the Calderon
Getty Images

Atletico Madrid hosted Real Madrid in one of the most heated derby matches in history.

The game was played in front of a feisty crowd that supported their side of the city from the very start to the finish. They gave the support that their team needed to come back from being a goal down. They managed to attack relentlessly at times, leaving a few holes in their own defensive third.

The one issue with Atletico Madrid was the lack of support for lone striker Diego Costa. He would lead the charge on counters, but there was no way he would be able to pressure the keeper and three defenders all on his own. Therefore, the team needs to push one or two more guys behind Costa to help with the pressure to force a mistake that could lead to a potential goal.

Real Madrid’s weakest links were Alvaro Arbeloa and Fabio Coentrao, not because they did not work hard, but their offensive capabilities were nowhere near the likes of Marcelo and Daniel Carvajal, who would respectively replace those two within the last 20 minutes or so of the match. These two immediately joined the attack and made good things happen from either flank.

Their 4-3-3 formation was easily predictable and slightly took away the creative ability of those in the central midfield three. However, when Isco jumped into the match for Angel Di Maria, he sprinted into the final third with the ball, thus earning free-kicks when hit and managed to distribute the ball nicely. He should be considered to start over Di Maria due to his defensive energy and wider range of vision.

Now, Real sits top of the league with 64 points while Atletico is up to 61. If Barcelona defeat Almeria later on today, they will jump into second place with 63 points. The derby match on March 23 at Real Madrid could potentially determine who hosts the La Liga title this season.

Check back in next week for an updated look at how the three-way race is looking in La Liga between Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

Aydin Reyhan is the lead soccer writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @areysportsnews) and like his Google Plus page.

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