On their previous two away La Liga fixtures against Athletic Bilbao (albeit at the "old" San Mames), Atletico Madrid have been remarkably consistent -- each time returning to the Spanish capital with their tails between their legs after a 3-0 beating. So, with FC Barcelona in action this afternoon in a match they are expected to win and with Atleti preparing to travel to the Basque Country for this evening's match against Athletic Bilbao, there is a very real possibility that the Blaugrana could regain control in the La Liga title race today.
It's so close you can almost taste it; the fruits of our labour after an incredible turnaround; a week ago Real Madrid could have delivered the coup de grace and extended their lead over the Blaugrana to seven points. Now, just seven days later, Barcelona are two points ahead of Los Blancos; maybe even more after tonight -- Rayo Vallecano have not lost in five matches while Real have obviously struggled to recover after that Clasico defeat. The only thing that would make this sweeter is topping the league to really complete that turnaround.
Espanyol will try to make it tough and indeed their league position suggests that they are capable of doing just that. Javier Aguirre's side have arguably upset the odds to currently sit in eighth place and given their inconsistent form, I think they are just waiting to be brought back down to earth. And who better to bring them down that city rivals, FC Barcelona? If last week proved anything, it's that the Blaugrana relish a good derby fixture...
Predict the score of this afternoon's clash by commenting with your prediction below. Best of luck!