We all know what’s going to happen here, don’t we? Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid will win the Copa del Rey to put some sort of silver lining around an otherwise cloudy season, before the Portuguese coach launches his medal into the crowd, tracks down the nearest reporter, blasts everyone from the Madrid tea lady upwards and not-so-cryptically tells everyone he’s off to Chelsea.
At present I’m working with the bwin bookies to find a price for that exact sequence of events happening, but while we wait, allow me to point you in the right direction of a couple of punts for tonight’s action.
Delivering the Spanish Cup will neatly bookend Mourinho’s Madrid reign after he ended his first season by lifting the trophy, and Los Galacticos are strong 3/10 favourites to secure the pot, with Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid a relatively distant 11/5.
In truth, it’s been a pretty anti-climactic season in Spain, with Barcelona effectively wrapping up the title prior to Christmas and Ze Germans divebombing any designs the big two had on lifting the European Cup.
With Atletico also timidly surrendering their Europa League trophy, it’s been a quiet few months on the peninsula, with any domestic games of meaning being few and far between.
Since the turn of the year Madrid have ambled along in the league with their focus elsewhere, but not necessarily on the King’s Cup.
However, it would be typical of Mourinho to gloss over major failings with yet another piece of silverware, before bowing out with all the dignity and decorum of Tony Montana spraying bullets wildly around his mansion.
The nuances of the Spanish Cup mean the venue is pre-determined at the beginning of the year, and the fact the Santiago Bernabeu got the nod also plays into the hands of the deposed league champions.
You’ve got to go back almost 18 months to find the last time Madrid came a cropper on home turf, and it’s now over two years since any defeat was inflicted by anyone other than Barcelona.
Madrid have won the last nine on the bounce at their place, and you can elongate that record over pretty much any sequence you choose. Past that, it’s been 15 wins from 18, or 24 from 28, or 40 from 50.
Whichever way you look at it, Madrid nearly always win at home, and I just cannot see Atletico altering that statistic tonight.
The ‘visitors’ have hardly got a decent track record to recall against their more illustrious city neighbours, either.
Indeed, Real have won each of the last ten Madrid derbies and you have to go back 24 games to October 1999 for the last Rojiblancos victory – a 3-1 reverse at the Bernabeu coming courtesy of a Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink brace.
Fourteen years on and Atletico have similar firepower in the form of Radamel Falcao, but even the 33-goal Colombian won’t be enough to take the pot back to the Vicente Calderon.
That long and ominous sequence against Real can’t be doing much for Atletico’s confidence heading into the final, and a pair of league defeats this season prove that clashes with their arch-rivals bring something of a preventative psychological barrier.
For those reasons, I’m leaning towards a Los Blancos win, as are the bookmakers at bwin, who have Real at 3/5 to win the tie in 90 minutes, with Atletico at 17/4 and the draw a 29/10 chance.
If you think – or hope – that Atletico can spoils Jose’s lat stand, then a draw after 90 minutes might be your best bet, with Simeone’s side going on to win in extra time at 13/1 or on penalties at 12/1.
Despite flopping in La Liga, getting mullered by Dortmund and having more backstabbing and bitching than an episode of Hollyoaks, it’s perhaps a testament to Madrid’s quality that they just keep on winning.
Domestically, they’re unbeaten in 13 games having failed to win only two of those, and with their full attacking arsenal fit and available, I’m backing the ‘hosts’ to win in the ninety with a few goals to boot.
Madrid to win a game with over 2.5 goals is 5/4, and that’s a safe option with decent rewards.
I can see Atletico scoring but in vain, so have a look at the multiple correct score market, where the 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 Real triumph is at 3/1, while Los Blancos to score in both halves at 5/4 is a simple one for your Friday accumulator.
If I was to go out on a limb though, I’d have a dabble at the half-time draw followed by a Real win in the ninety at 7/2, and as far as a correct score is concerned, 3-1 Real at 21/2 is floating my boat.
As this is a cup final, bwin have rolled out plenty of specials and all in all you can peruse 237 different markets – see them by clicking here.
And wherever Mourinho ends up next season, I’ll definitely be on him to add to his trophy collection with a solid triumph in this intriguing capital clash.