As the busy festive period rolls around, the top clubs in Europe will be keen to pick up as many points domestically while the Champions League takes a break. Here’s our look ahead to a handful of games over the next few days.

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid

One of the great derbies of the football calendar takes place on Sunday as city rivals Atletico travel to Real as first takes on fourth in La Liga.

It wasn’t long ago that things looked bleak for Real Madrid with a number of their stars struggling to follow up on their former glories under a succession of managers. However, since Carlo Ancelotti has taken the hotseat again, it’s been much of the Real of old. His side are eight points clear in the league and after beating Inter Milan on Tuesday night, they topped their Champions League group with five wins from six matches. The Italian has brought back that air of confidence and fear that former Real sides were known for and having won their last nine matches in succession, it’s perhaps a tad surprising they head into this one at odds-against at 11/10.

As for their opponents, Atletico, it’s been a curious season so far. Despite winning just two of their six group games in the Champions League they still made it through to the knockout stages after defeating Porto 3-1 in their final match. It was typical of a Diego Simeone-trained side to somehow scrape through despite being nowhere near their best and they’ll be a side that many won’t want to face in the next round. Attention very much turns to La Liga now, though, and although they find themselves 10 points behind Sunday’s opponents after a few dodgy results, what better way to right those wrongs than by beating their arch city rivals? The visitors are the 12/5 outsiders, while the draw is available at the same price.

PSG v Monaco

Another intriguing encounter to look forward to on Sunday evening as Monaco travel to the Parc des Princes to face league leaders Paris Saint Germain.

Though PSG are 11 points clear in Ligue One, it hasn’t been a great start to December for Mauricio Pochettino’s men. Firstly, Neymar suffered a bad ankle injury ruling him out for eight months and that was quickly followed by two disappointing draws against Nice at home and then away to Lens, where a stoppage time equaliser from Georginio Wijnaldum sparred their blushes. They did comfortably beat Club Brugges in the Champions League on Tuesday and, as mentioned, they are a long way clear in the league, but they’ll still want to improve on things domestically particularly with such a busy period on the horizon. The runaway leaders are the strong 2/5 favourites for this.

They take on a Monaco side who are in very solid form having gone unbeaten in their last five Ligue One matches, including winning their last two by an aggregate of seven goals to one. It’s a run that has seen them move up to seventh in the league, and while this weekend’s opponents already look too far ahead in terms of the title, they now just sit two points off Lens in the final Champions League spot. Given PSG’s dip in form in the league in recent weeks, they might fancy their chances of a major scalp at 6/1, while the draw is a 15/4 chance.

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