Evening. Do you like a derby? If your answer to that question is yes, then you're either a neutral, a fan of the bigger club in the city (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester City) or a liar. You're definitely not an Atletico Madrid fan, that's a certainty. Their recent record in this derby has been nothing short of a flamboyant disgrace. They haven't beaten Real Madrid since 1999. Eleven years. Eleven. Long. Years. They could be 16-0 up in stoppage time tonight, and they still won't win, not even if Real are down to eight men and Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to playing with his shorts on his head. We could be talking next week, you and I, the game done and dusted, a lovely 3-0 victory for Atletico in the bag, and they'd still find a way to screw it up - managing to start the second half with 12 men on the pitch, something suitably farcical. That's just the way it is. It's a complex now, a self-fulfilling prophecy, a mere inevitability. I know what's going to happen, you know what's going to happen, Real Madrid know what's going to happen and, most importantly, Atletico Madrid know what's going to happen. Really, you have to question why this game is even going ahead.
Further reason for Atletico not to turn up tonight: Jose Mourinho last lost a league game at home in February 2002, when his Porto side were defeated 3-2 by Beira-Mar. That really is quite remarkable, and even includes a 0-0 draw against Sampdoria with Inter last season, when his team were reduced to nine men in the first half. Say, what will last longer - Real's unbeaten run against Atletico or Mourinho's unbeaten run at home?
Here are tonight's teams:
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo; Khedira, Alonso; Ronaldo, Ozil, Di Maria; Higuain. Subs: Adan, Albiol, Arbeloa, Diarra, Granero, Pedro Leon, Benzema.
Atletico Madrid (4-4-2): De Gea; Valera, Ujfalusi, Dominguez, Filipe Luis; Reyes, Tiago, Mario Suarez, Simao; Forlan, Aguero. Subs: Joel, Lopez, Camacho, Merida, Assuncao, Costa, Pulido, Raul Garcia.
Referee: Mateu Lahoz
Why Spanish football is superior. How many England caps has he got though?
Barcelona have beaten Getafe 3-1. Lionel Messi now has 63 goals in his last 63 games. What's he ever done though? Anyway Barcelona go top of
the SPL La Liga, two points ahead of Real Madrid but having played a game more. It's a two-horse race, of that there can be no doubt. While it is an engrossing two-horse race, it is impossible to see anyone other than Barcelona or Real Madrid winning the league, which is surely not healthy. Villarreal and Valencia have flirted with the idea, but without too much conviction. Valencia finished third last season but were actually closer to the bottom than the top. Whatever happened to football?
1 min: Off we go then, Real Madrid kicking off and attacking from left to right. Is that clear? There always seems to be an oddly haughty air about the Bernabeu. There's some singing - that bloke with the megaphone is making a racket - but the home fans seem to be sitting back and waiting for their team to take the lead.
2 min: Real have started very much on the front foot. Ozil plays a one-two with Higuain and nearly strides on to the return pass, which would have left him with a one-on-one with De Gea, but Varela came across from right-back to usher him away.
3 min: Marcelo bombs down the left flank. He reaches the area, where he tries a nifty dragback, but has to settle for a corner after decent defensive work by Suarez. Alonso whips the corner in from the left and from around 15 yards out, Pepe directs a powerful header towards goal - either side of De Gea and it would have caused a problem but it was straight at the goalkeeper, who held on to the effort confidently.
5 min: Atletico tenatively edge their way into this and threaten twice in quick succession. First Simao skips down the left flank, easily evading the sluggish Ramos. His cross towards the far post nearly finds Forlan, but Pepe does well to hold him off. The clearance doesn't get very far though, falling to Aguero, who can't do much with the volley. Atletico maintain the pressure though, and a gorgeous pass over the top of the Real defence by Tiago nearly releases the lurking Forlan, but a wonderful last-ditch intervention by Marcelo quells the danger.
7 min: Sergio Aguero has been muscled out of it a few times already by Ricardo Carvalho. He needs to be stronger.
8 min: The ball's in the back of Atletico's net, but the goal is correctly disallowed for offside, to the almighty relief of David De Gea. Ronaldo tormented Valera on the left of the area, twisting and turning away from the right-back. He stood up a cross to the right side of the area, where Di Maria screwed a seemingly harmless volley at goal. It was straight at De Gea, but he spilled the effort at the feet of Khedira, who slammed the rebound into the roof of the net. Luckily for the goalkeeper though, Khedira was miles offside and the flag goes up.
9 min: And now Aguero darts down the right flank. With team-mates hurtling into the box, he cuts inside and blazes wastefully off-target.
11 min: It's not been a great start. It's a tad sloppy, with a few bitty fouls and misplaced passes dominating proceedings so far.
12 min: Marcelo is showing great attacking thrust on the left, pinning back Reyes and Valera. He's combining well with Ronaldo, but neither has been able to deliver a telling final pass yet.
GOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Atletico Madrid (Carvalho 13 min) Not entirely surprising, other than the identity of the goalscorer. Reyes tried to start a counterattack for Atletico, and lost possession in his own half. He wanted a free-kick but his appeals were waved away, allowing Carvalho to lead another Real attack. He played the ball to Higuain, who tried to exchange passes with Di Maria 25 yards from Atletico's goal. Di Maria's flick back towards Higuain took a nick off Ujfalusi, and bounced through to Carvlaho, who had continued his run forward, and he rolled the ball past De Gea from 15 yards out.
15 min: Real nearly grab another goal! In similar style, a ball is lobbed over the gawping Atletico defence, and into Ozil's path. He should score but his shot from eight yards out is too close to De Gea, who makes a fine block.
16 min: Oh, this is so close to the equaliser! Reyes zips down the right flank, escaping Marcelo's attentions with ease. He fires the ball across the face of Real's goal and towards Forlan. Forlan would have had a simple tap-in, but Casillas plunges forward to get fingertips on the cross and push it away from the striker.
GOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 Atletico Madrid (Ozil 19 min) This one's all over then. Ronaldo won a free-kick on the right side of the area, going down a little too easily under the challenge of Dominguez. It's just outside, right on the line. With everyone expecting a cross from either Alonso or Ozil, the German steps up and whips a low ball round the wall. The ball beats Reyes's attempt to clear it and, with De Gea statuesque in the Atletico goal, it nestles into the bottom far corner. An awful goal to concede.
21 min: Atletico could be on the end of a proper hiding here. Their defence has been lamentable.
24 min: Wonderful skill by Ozil on the right touchline! He accepted a clipped pass from Alonso before brilliantly nutmegging Simao. Then, quick as you like, he darted inside, past the feeble challenges of Luis and Suarez. With plenty of space to roam into, he rolled the ball to the left for Ronaldo, who charged forward and dragged a poor shot well wide.
25 min: Atletico are struggling to contain Real's effervescent attack. Every time they go forward they look like scoring. Ronaldo finds space on the right and clips a decent cross towards Higuain at the far post. He's unmarked but the delivery is just too high and Higuain is unable to control the header.
29 min: What an escape for Real! Aguero bursts past Pepe on the right, reaching the byline. His cutback is pushed into the path of Forlan by Casillas. There's not enough pace on the ball though, forcing Forlan to check, and his effort is somehow deflected wide somewhat desperately by a combination of Casillas and Carvalho. Then from the corner, Atletico nearly score again as Dominguez forces a flying save out of Casillas again, as the goalkeeper dives to his left to keep the header out. Aguero gets to the rebound first and tries to hook the ball back towards goal, but it deflects away off Alonso's outstretched arm. Aguero wants a penalty, but the referee couldn't see it.
32 min: Real have gone to sleep a little here. Simao whips in a free-kick from the left touchline and Ujfalusi gets in front of Alonso and puts a firm header just wide. Casillas didn't move - and then politely asks his defenders if they might like to mark the Atletico attackers, if they'd be so kind.
34 min: If Atletico are going to get back into this, a very unlikely scenario, they need to take those sort of chances. Teams managed by Jose Mourinho don't tend to give you too many opportunities over the course of 90 minutes.
36 min: Casillas again does brilliantly to preserve Real's two-goal lead. Reyes engages two Real defenders and darts in from the right, looking to work the ball on to his left foot for the curler. When he does shift it on to his left, he lets fly, sending a screamer towards the top corner. For all the world it looks like it's in, but Casillas again springs to his right and flicks up a hand to push the shot away.
38 min: This is an odd sort of game. It's had a lot of chances, but because of the two early goals for Real, it's strangely lacking any sort of tension. Anyway, Real should been out of sight here. Between them Dominguez and Ujfalusi make a mess of dealing with a hopeful long ball forward, the former putting his clearing header on to the back of the latter. The ball drops ominously to the onrushing Ronaldo on the edge of the area, but with everyone in the stadium expecting a goal, he blasts a wild shot over the bar.
40 min: The referee has done very well indeed to wave away sneaky claims for penalties. This time Di Maria laughably goes down after a fine challenge from Simao in the area. His appeals are ignored.
43 min: This game needed Atletico to score first, or at least stay within touching distance of Real after they conceded the first. As it is now, it's a bit of a damp squib. Real Madrid (and Barcelona for that matter) are simply too good for the rest. The team that finishes third in La Liga should be presented with a trinket too.
44 min: Atletico win a free-kick 30 yards from goal, just to the left. Rather than shooting, Simao teases a pointless cross into the area and Ramos heads away under little pressure. What a waste of a promising situation.
45 min: With the half meandering to a close, the referee blows for half-time two seconds before the clock hit 45. Perhaps he was bored.
Half-time: Real Madrid 2-0 Atletico Madrid. I will be stunned if Real aren't top at 10pm tonight. This isn't a great advert for La Liga to be honest. It's a complete non-event really. The only threat to Real is if they manage to send themselves to sleep. Not that they've been boring, just that Atletico aren't offering up much of a challenge.
46 min: We're off again. The main interest in this half: how many goals Real rack up and whether I'll get any emails. I'll go for two and no. Oh, and Ronaldo hasn't scored yet, so I'm sure we'll be treated to an array of shots from him, each one becoming more desperate and unlikely the longer he goes without a goal. Has there ever been a player more entertainingly childish than Ronaldo when he wants a goal? Aguero nearly gets in behind the Real defence with Atletico's first attack of the half, but Tiago's pass is wayward.
47 min: Wow. Ozil casually runs down the left flank, barely a defender present to oppose his progress. Eventually he clips the ball to Higuain on the edge of the area. In a flash, he smashes a marvellous first-time volley with his left foot inches wide of the right-hand post. That was an astonishingly hard shot. Not only did De Gea not see it, I barely saw it too, it moved so quickly.
49 min: An email! "Evening, JS," writes Ian Copestake. Evening. "I see the Spanish League more like a league consisting entirely of Arsenals."
50 min: And here's Ronaldo's first shot of many in this half. From 25 yards out, he takes aim but a deflection off Dominguez removes the sting from the shot and it bounces to De Gea almost apologetically. Hey, we could play Ronaldo Bingo.
51 min: Di Maria's run is halted as he is cynically tugged back by Suarez. Real have a free-kick 25 yards out, just to the right.
52 min: Ronaldo, inevitably, takes the free-kick. Who else was going to take it? Ronaldo hasn't scored! It's a tame effort though, again straight at De Gea.
53 min: Simao gets to the left byline and stands up a cross towards the far post, forcing Carvalho to head behind for a corner. Reyes curls it in from the left, without too much pace, and Dominguez nods harmlessly wide at the far post.
55 min: "Might be a question for El Sid I guess, but on the field, do the other Real Madrid players seem to like Ozil?" asks Craig Gamble. "Must be hard to make your way in a team with such large egos all around you." I can't say I've noticed any animosity - they all seemed very pleased with his goal. Apart from Ronaldo obviously. Tiago puts a speculative effort over from 35 yards out, the sort of ambition Wayne Rooney would no doubt approve of.
57 min: Aguero finds a pocket of space in Real's half. He shows wonderful skill to beat two challenges, but is too greedy when he reaches the area. He could either shoot or slip a pass through to Reyes, but instead he tries to flummox Carvalho who's having none of it. He nonchantly plucks the ball away from Aguero and strides out of defence to start another attack, like a dad showing off with his kids. Carvalho really is a sublime defender.
59 min: "Don't you find it increasingly difficult to even look at Ronaldo after his most recent I've been hit in the face antics?" points out Ian Copestake. "Am sure the Real Madrid fans are staying away in droves." That was utterly pathetic. Who was he trying to kid? Howard Webb? Oh. Anyway this second half is not unlike Mourinho's early years at Chelsea. Real Madrid are suffocating the life out of this one.
60 min: Suddenly the game springs into life! Atletico win a corner on the left, which is taken by Simao. It's headed away at the near post but the ball drops to Forlan on the edge of the area, who smacks a sweet low volley back towards goal. It beats Casillas but rebounds away off the foot of the post. A warning for Real.
62 min: Forlan appeared to hurt himself when he hit that volley. He's limping around, clutching his thigh - and now he's dumped on his backside by Pepe, which he surely didn't need.
63 min: As Simao's free-kick is cleared, Real immediately break. Di Maria's gorgeous pass releases Ozil just inside Atletico's half. He races away from the defence but perhaps he had too much time to decide what he wanted to do with his shot. With only De Gea to beat, he allows Ujfalusi to recover and deflect his shot a couple of yards wide. Nothing comes from the corner.
65 min: Reyes has been very dangerous on the right. Again he's played into space, away from Marcelo, but his low cross is put behind for a corner by Ramos. Reyes takes the corner and it looks like there might be a chance for Aguero at the far post. He lines up a volley, but the ball doesn't come down quickly enough and eventually the opening disappears.
67 min: Tiago is booked for a foolish tackle on Ronaldo.
68 min: "In response to Craig Gamble are there really that many super egos (bar ronny the universe consuming ego) in Mourinho's Madrid?" asks Conor Redmond. "A couple of fiery characters like Ramos and Pepe but the likes of Alonso, Carvalho, Di Maria and Ozil's fellow member of the Mannschaft Khedira all seem like pretty professional guys." A word of praise for the referee, who has shown little patience for any underhand play by both sides. Raul Garcia comes on for Tiago.
71 min: Valera tries his luck from 30 yards out but it skips wide of Casillas's near post.
72 min: Now Khedira goes into the book for clipping Aguero's ankles. "Here's something to debate, in case nothing at all happens for the next 20 minutes," writes Hugh Costello. "Is Ozil the new Zidane? Consider the comparisons. He often appears to be barely paying attention. He glides over the ground as if on casters. He passes with such beguiling simplicity that you barely notice him doing it. And he has an eye for goal - remember that left foot screamer in the World Cup. Discuss." He's not as much of a fruitcake as Zidane.
73 min: I've been really impressed with Reyes tonight. Again he taunts Marcelo on the right flank. He cuts inside on to his left, stepping away from Alonso too. Having found a slight opening, he suddenly fires a fantastic effort towards the top corner. Casillas was nowhere near it, but it soars inches over the angle of post and bar.
74 min: Gonzalo Higuain, who hasn't done too much tonight, is replaced by Karim Benzema.
76 min: Carvalho goes flying in on Reyes - fortunately he misses the man, but ends up handling the ball. He's cautioned for deliberate handball. Before the free-kick is taken, Simao is replaced by Diego Costa. Reyes eventually whips the ball into the area, but again Real Madrid's defence stands firm. Mourinho really knows how to set up a defence.
78 min: "Is there an English player who could make it big in La Liga?" ponders Gary Naylor. "Don't say Wilshere as that's just the London hype machine at work. Adam Johnson? Not Steven Gerrard nor Frank Lampard I feel. Gazza would have made it, probably Brooking too and I guess Lineker did. Beardsley and Teddy had the brains too. Maybe Des Walker, though he disintegrated in Italy. Any more?" Rio Ferdinand in his prime? Ronaldo wins a free-kick just outside the D, tripped by Raul Garcia...
79 min: Ronaldo whacks the free-kick into the wall and then sees another volleyed attempt blocked by an Atletico defender. The ball squirts away, and Atletico counter, getting the ball to Sergio Aguero. Despite the presence of three or four Real defenders, he has the pace and skill required to trouble all of them and just outside the area, he fires in a low shot that Casillas pushes past his near post.
80 min: From the corner, Diego Costa catches Carvalho with an elbow. Carvalho, not too surprisingly, is more than a little dazed and needs some attention off the pitch.
82 min: Khedira has dropped into the centre of Real's defence. Surely Carvalho can't continue. Atletico have dominated this half and Casillas has made a number of saves - they shot themselves in the foot with their awful start.
83 min: Carvlaho is completely out of it. He's got a nasty cut below his eye and is sensibly replaced by Raul Albiol. As is Di Maria, Mahamadou Diarra on in his place. Mourinho is looking to close the game out now.
84 min: Ozil wriggles free on the right of the Atletico area. His shot is blocked by Filipe Luis but still manages to get through to De Gea. Ronaldo is momentarily interested and tries to slide in to poke the ball beyond the goalkeeper, but is unable to make any contact.
85 min: "Poulsen would be loved in Spain, by all the reds fans wishing he was anywhere else," honks Ian Copestake. "Ozil is super, bit early to say if he is the new Zidane though," says Conor Redmond. "However he can be best man at my wedding solely on the basis of his humiliation of the Gerrard/Barry axis of ineptitude in South Africa."
87 min: "Englishmen who could make it in La Liga," states Aaron Lamb. "PAUL SCHOLES." Capital letters don't make your argument any more credible. But yes, Paul Scholes. Real nearly get their third. Benzema chests down a long ball on the left, before flicking a cute pass into the path of Marcelo. He charges into the area, and then pokes a shot towards De Gea's near post. The goalkeeper pushes the ball aside.
88 min: Decent efforts at both ends. Atletico's defence backs off Khedira, who accepts the invitation to shoot, but it's straight at De Gea, who holds with some difficulty. Then Forlan turns away from Pepe, and drags a warning shot a few yards wide of the right-hand post.
90 min: That is some miss by Sergio Ramos, after a move that stemmed from a quite extraordinary backheeled flick from Ronaldo to Alonso. Alonso curls the ball into the six-yard box where Ramos, all alone, somehow plants a header wide of the post. He really has no excuse with that one, a dreadful miss. Then Ronaldo works an opening for Benzema, who places his shot straight at De Gea from the edge of the area. We'll have four more minutes of this.
90 min+2: "Ashley Cole seems an obvious choice, don't like him very much but he's fairly good with a sphere," says Andy. "I always feel that someone like Lee Bowyer could bring a different element to La Liga as well, just not in the same way as the aforementioned Scholesey." More English players should go abroad. The insular attitude of this island nation is astounding.
Peep! Peep! Peep! And there's the full-time whistle. That was predictably comfortable for Real Madrid, who go a point above Barcelona at the top of the table. The game was over after 20 minutes. Real eased off after they went 2-0 up and allowed Atletico Madrid a couple of chances. Atletico Madrid's winless run against their rivals continues. Thanks for all your emails. Night.