With eight wins each from their first eight matches Atletico Madrid trail Barcelona at the top of La Liga only on goal difference, but after vanquishing city rivals Real recently they are best placed to extend their unbeaten run longer than the Catalan club and are tempting odds at 11/10 to do so.
Diego Costa is now two goals ahead of the injured Lionel Messi in this season’s scoring ranks.
Messi’s season has been disrupted twice so far by injuries and his absence has forced Gerardo Martino to turn to young forward Cristian Tello, whose record of 15 goals in 63 games for Barca pales in comparison to the diminutive winger’s incredible 324 strikes in 388 games for the club.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner faces a race against time to be fit for the clash with Real Madrid at the Camp Nou, while the new striking star of La Liga Costa has now equalled his tally from last term with his ninth and tenth goals of the season against Celta Vigo.
Los Blaugrana only lost four times last year when facing Spanish opponents, but three of those games were Clasicos.
Barca, who are 13/20 to be the last team unbeaten in La Liga this season, will host a Los Blancos side in pretty rude health having only failed to win two of their ten games in all competitions this season and come into the game unbeaten away from home in the league since February.
Their sole loss so far this term was against Atleti, who will not face either of Spain’s traditional top two again before Barca’s visit to the Vicente Calderon in the middle of January.
Atletico did not suffer a defeat in 2012/13 until they faced Valencia, who visit the capital in December.
There is little reason to believe that either Espanyol, Granada or Real Betis will cause Diego Simeone’s side many problems in their next few fixtures as none of them managed to grab even a point off Los Rojiblancos last year and Atleti have won more La Liga games than these three teams combined so far this term.
Martino’s men, on the other hand, have Real to contend with in two games’ time and even if they come through that test unscathed Atleti are still well placed to land this bet as they face a similar run of fixtures to Barca between now and Christmas.