Real Madrid travel to the home of their capital rivals Atletico Madrid in La Liga on Sunday night.
“I ran into Carlito in a restaurant,” Oscar ‘El Profe’ Ortega, Atletico’s long-serving fitness coach, remembered. “A great guy. We started to talk and he says: ‘Profe, don’t say anything else. You get the league, we get the Champions League.’ A man with a lot of experience.”
Carlo Ancelotti has enjoyed some great nights against Atletico Madrid – chief among them was that 2014 final which earned Real their tenth European Cup. Here’s the XI Carlito may field in a bid for more derby success.
GK: Thibaut Courtois – A former darling of Atletico, the Rojiblanco title winner had toy rats thrown at him during a 2019 derby after crossing the divide.
RB: Dani Carvajal – The Real youth team product has beaten their red and white rivals more often than any other club in his senior career (11 wins).
CB: Antonio Rudiger – “Playing in the cages taught me you either eat or you get eaten,” Rudiger revealed when reminiscing about his childhood in Berlin. Although he took that lesson a little too literally when he “nibbled” Paul Pogba at Euro 2020.
CB: David Alaba – At the end of his breakthrough season for Bayern Munich, still a teenager at the time, Alaba stepped up to take and score his team’s first penalty in the shootout against Real Madrid in the 2012 Champions League semi-finals. A decade later, he was hoisting aloft the big-eared trophy with Los Blancos.
LB: Ferland Mendy – After a rare spot on the bench in midweek, Mendy should be fresh for the derby.
CM: Luka Modric – Just five years before he broke Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s stranglehold on the Ballon d’Or, Modric was voted as La Liga’s worst signing of the season after his debut campaign in 2012/13, pipping Barcelona’s Alex Song.
CM: Aurelien Tchouameni – The imposing 6’2 midfielder is often lauded for his physical attributes by Ancelotti was quick to point out that “his intelligence has enabled him to sign for Real Madrid”.
CM: Toni Kroos – Across eight years on the white half of Madrid, Kroos has only ever been involved in one victory away to Atletico (D6 L5).
RW: Federico Valverde – “I told Valverde that if he didn’t score at least ten goals this season, I will tear up my coaching license and leave,” Ancelotti declared. The Uruguayan is currently on a career-high three across all competitions.
ST: Rodrygo – As an 18-year-old, Rodrygo scored just 94 seconds into his Real Madrid debut, narrowly short of the record set by his compatriot Ronaldo at 64 seconds.
LW: Vinicius Junior – Last weekend Mallorca’s manager Javier Aguirre took a robust approach to dealing with Vinicius. “Hit him, hit him,” the coach reportedly shouted. Fortunately, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid would never succumb to such tactics.
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Arsenal played host to Bodo/Glimt in one of the later kick-offs, after fellow Premier League sides Manchester United and West Ham jetted off around the continent to face Omonia Nicosia and Anderlecht respectively.
Here’s a round-up of the evening’s action.
FC Zurich 1-5 PSV Eindhoven
Arsenal cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Bodo/Glimt under the lights at the Emirates.
Eddie Nketiah tapped home a rebound after Kieran Tierney’s thumping effort bounced back off the post, minutes before Rob Holding headed home from a cross from the excellent Fabio Vieira.
Bodo/Glimt grew into the game as things progressed but Arsenal killed things off with a third five minutes before full-time as a glorious Gabriel Jesus run ended in a tap-in from Vieira.
Rennes 2-1 Dynamo Kyiv
Fenerbahce 2-0 AEK Larnaca
HJK Helsinki 1-1 Ludogorets
A late meltdown from Roma saw them slump to a 2-1 defeat at home to Real Betis.
Betis were the most dangerous early on but Roma took the lead through a Paulo Dybala penalty just after the half-hour mark, although their lead lasted about five minutes as Guido Rodriguez fizzed in an equaliser before the break.
Nicolo Zaniolo hit the bar and Dybala saw a volley expertly saved before the interval and Roma continued that momentum after the break. They failed to find the back of the net, however, and were punished for their profligacy as Luiz Henrique headed home a winner with two minutes to go.
Things ended on a sourer note for Roma as they lost Zaniolo to a pointless red card in stoppage time. The Italian kicked out at an opponent and was deservedly dismissed, leaving him suspended for the next game.
Malmo 0-1 Union Berlin
Braga 1-2 Union SG
FC Sheriff 0-2 Real Sociedad
Manchester United came perilously close to a major European upset as they were forced to come from behind to seal a 3-2 victory over Cypriot side Omonia Nicosia.
United could have had a few goals early on – Antony fluffed a cut-back and Bruno Fernandes hit the bar – but some shocking defending saw the Red Devils punished on the counter by Karim Ansarifard ten minutes before half-time.
Seven minutes into the second half, substitute Marcus Rashford fired home a delightful equaliser following an excellent pass from Fernandes, before Anthony Martial came off the bench and fired United ahead shortly after the hour mark.
Rashford tapped home a third with five minutes to go but Omonia grabbed an immediate response to set up a nervy equaliser, but United held on to seal an uncomfortable three points.
Sturm Graz 0-0 Lazio
Midtylland 2-2 Feyenoord
Freiburg 2-0 Nantes
Olympiacos 0-3 Qarabag
Red Star 4-1 Ferencvaros
Monaco 3-1 Trabzonspor
Hearts 0-3 Fiorentina
RFS 0-0 Basaksehir
A late strike from Gianluca Scamacca fired West Ham to well-earned victory over Belgian giants Anderlecht.
West Ham were dominant from start to finish but had to wait until the 79th-minute for Scamacca to touch down Lucas Paqueta’s flick and fire across goal into the bottom corner to get the lead they deserved.
However, West Ham had goalkeeper Alphonse Areola to thank for the three points as the Frenchman pulled out what will surely be the save of the tournament to repel a close-range header and secure the victory. Sensational stuff.
Silkeborg 5-0 FCSB
Lech Poznan 0-0 Hapoel Beer Sheva
Villarreal 5-0 Austria Vienna
Slovacko 0-1 Nice
Koln 0-1 Partizan
Dnipro-1 2-2 Vaduz
AZ Alkmaar 3-2 Apollon Limassol
Molde 3-0 Shamrock Rovers
Gent 0-1 Djurgarden
Sivasspor 3-4 Ballkani
Slavia Prague 0-1 CFR Cluj
Pyunik Yerevan 2-0 Zalgiris
Basel 0-2 Slovan Bratislava
Chelsea drops Fofana update after initial tests on knee injury
Wesley Fofana’s knee injury is better than initially feared after the first set of tests returned positive results.
The defender suffered a knee injury in a collision with Rafael Leao in the 38th minute of Chelsea’s 3-0 home win against AC Milan, as his night ended in frustrating fashion having scored his first goal for the club earlier in the match.
There is hope that Fofana could return before the World Cup, with Chelsea’s final match before the tournament taking place away to Newcastle on November 12.
The centre-back is likely to miss this weekend’s clash against Wolves and the away match at San Siro against Milan next week.
Fofana was seen leaving Stamford Bridge on crutches on Wednesday night, with his right knee in a brace as there were worries he may have suffered a serious injury.
Speaking in his post-match press conference after Chelsea’s victory over Milan, Blues boss Graham Potter admitted he was unsure how bad it would prove to be for Fofana.
‘We’ll have to scan it tomorrow and see how he is but there’s nothing to report at the moment,” Potter said.
“That’s the one disappointing thing about the evening so we have our fingers crossed. We’re concerned but I don’t want to speculate on it now.
“These things happen. He’s a young guy and a strong guy but we’ll support him.”
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