Clásico live build-up: preamble
Morning/afternoon/evening! Welcome to our live coverage of a Clásico that looks like having a big old say in the LaLiga title race – far bigger than had seemed likely a couple of months ago.
After a 4-2 win over Cádiz, LaLiga leaders Atlético Madrid ended January 10 points clear of both Madrid and Barcelona at the top of the table – with a game in hand, to boot.
However, Diego Simeone’s men have won just four of their last 10 league games since then, while Madrid and Barça have put together runs that have allowed them to roar back into contention for the championship.
Having won 14 of their last 19 in LaLiga since a shock November home loss to Alavés, Madrid have closed the gap on Atleti to three points; Barça, meanwhile, have reeled Los Rojiblancos in to within just the one point, bouncing back from defeat at Cádiz in December to register 16 victories and three draws in the last 19.
All of which means today’s winner will lead LaLiga overnight, knocking Atlético off top spot – albeit provisionally – for the first time since December. Los Colchoneros visit Real Betis on Sunday evening.