Saturday represents the seventh installment of Clasico action in 2011, and the pressure is on Pep Guardiola's men to pick up all three points at the Santiago Bernabeu
Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo
Xabi Alonso, Diarra, Khedira
Di Maria, Benzema/Higuain, Ronaldo
Alves, Puyol, Pique, Abidal
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Messi, Cesc, Sanchez
Jose Mourinho looks set to deploy Alvaro Arbeloa at right back after the defender returned from injury in the midweek Champions League win over Ajax. Sergio Ramos and Pepe will continue their partnership at the heart of the defense, with Ricardo Carvalho still injured.
Xabi Alonso returns from suspension and will play alongside Lassana Diarra, while Sami Khedira is likely to be given the nod ahead of Fabio Coentrao to complete a three-man midfield.
Mourinho has already confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria will start the game in support of either Karim Benzema or Gonzalo Higuain.
Despite suffering concussion in last weekend's 5-0 victory over Levante, Carles Puyol is winning his battle to start at center back alongside Gerard Pique, with Barcelona set to opt for a four-man backline, although Pep Guardiola has indicated he has considered utilizing a back-three, as he has done on several occasions this season.
Guardiola has no major injury woes and has a selection dilemma in midfield and attack. Sergio Busquets is expected to shield the defense with Xavi and Andres Iniesta likely to provide the creativity in the middle of the park.
David Villa is set to miss out again as Guardiola is likely to select Chile forward Alexis Sanchez on the left, with Cesc Fabregas deployed in the 'false nine' position and Lionel Messi reverting to a right-wing role.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
Real Madrid has won only one of its previous 11 meetings with its Catalan rivals (losing seven and drawing the other three).
- However, Los Blancos have won six out of eight of their last meetings versus Barcelona when the sides have met in the month of December (one defeat, one draw).
- Madrid has not dropped a single point after scoring first in Liga since the beginning of the 2009-10 campaign, with every other team dropping at least 18 points in this period.
- Barcelona has won only three of its last 10 Liga away fixtures, this coming after setting the record for most consecutive away victories last season (12).
- Lionel Messi has scored on his last five visits to the Santiago Bernabeu, netting a total of seven goals in the process.
- Pep Guardiola's men have scored more goals in the opening 15 minutes than any other side in La Liga this season (11), while Madrid has netted the most strikes in the last 15 (10).