Tactical Battles That Will Shape Real Madrid's Clash with Atletico Madrid
The Copa del Rey is down to only four teams, and fans are set for some entertaining matchups in the next few weeks. Barcelona will be taking on Real Sociedad, but the real spectacle will be the two-legged affair that will see Real Madrid face off with city rivals Atletico Madrid.
In the last few meetings Atletico Madrid have been able to get the better results in direct competition, including winning the Copa del Rey last year. But you can count on Real Madrid looking to turn the tables and book their place in the final.
With these two giants set to battle it out, it is time to take a look at the tactical battles that will decide the tie. Both clubs boast incredible squads, but there are certain areas that will likely determine which Madrid-based club advances.
*All statistics are courtesy of WhoScored.com
Real Madrid's Attack vs. Atletico Madrid's Defense
Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are two of the most deadly forwards in Europe. But when Real Madrid takes on Ateltico Madrid they will be facing their toughest challenge as they look to break down the defense.
Atletico Madrid boast one of the best defensive units in all of Europe and they will prove to be worthy foes for the Real Madrid attack.
With the likes of Diego Godin and Juan Miranda forming a wall at the back, Ronaldo and company could be in for a very long night. However, it is the keeper Thibaut Courtois that will likely cause the most problems for Los Blancos.
In every sport it is always enjoyable to see the best defensive side face off with the best offensive side and that is exactly what fans will get to see in this two-legged affair.
In all honesty, the winner will most likely be determined by which club can perform the best in the midfield. The lightning strike attack of Real Madrid will meet the immovable wall of Atletico and it will surely be a spectacle to watch.
Diego Costa vs. Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos is going to have his hands full in both games as he seeks to slow down the force that is Diego Costa. The Atletico Madrid striker has been an absolute phenom all season and will give defenders headaches every time he touches the ball.
For the most part, it will be Ramos who will have the most interaction with Costa meaning there will be a lot of blood boiling on and off the ball.
Costa is known for having a hot head and being a very physical attacker. Pair that with Ramos' knack for picking up cards in every match and you have the possibility of things getting out of control.
Emotions aside, Ramos will have to be at his best if he is to keep Costa at bay. So far this season the 25-year-old has been able to get through nearly every defense he has faced and score some pretty spectacular goals.
If Ramos is indeed able to hold off Costa then Real Madrid will surely be favorites to advance to the next round. But if the Brazilian manages to get to the defender, it could spell disaster for Los Blancos.
Koke vs. Luka Modric
Both clubs are full of immense quality at every position, meaning that this tie will certainly be decided by which side is able to create the most chances.
So far this season Koke has been in incredible form. The midfielder has already given 10 assists and will be looking to feed Diego Costa and company to help Atletico Madrid score vital goals. The 22-year-old could prove to be Atletico’s most important player, but he will have to get through Xabi Alonso to get into attacking positions.
They don’t call him Magic Modric for nothing. The Croatian has been scintillating all year and has formed a great partnership with Xabi Alonso. He will be tasked with trying to help Real Madrid break through a tough defense and has a tough two games ahead of him.
Creating chances will be the most difficult thing for both sides. With that being said, Koke and Luka Modric will be fighting it out in the midfield and will certainly be a battle to watch.
Marcelo vs. Juanfran
Juanfran's battle against Real Madrid's Marcelo could end up being the most interesting matchup in the two-legged affair.
Marcelo will be tasked with getting forward and linking up with Cristiano Ronaldo as he always does, yet at the same time the Brazilian cannot afford to be caught out of position with Atletico known for their keen ability to strike on the counter.
Interestingly enough, the very same is true for Juanfran. The Spanish right-back is also known for getting forward and joining the attack, but more importantly he will have to keep pace with Cristiano Ronaldo.
It is also easy to forget that during all of this, Marcelo and Juanfran will have to defend each other as well. It will be a constant back and forth between the two fullbacks and the slightest mistake could cost either team a goal.
These two clubs are on the very same playing field and fans already know they are in for a treat. Both sides are full of quality talent meaning every individual battle will be huge.
Who will advance to the next round? The team that makes the fewest mistakes.
Which battles are you looking forward to in this Copa del Rey tie? Which club do you think will make it to the final? Leave your thoughts and comments below!