La Liga Preview: Real Madrid v Granada
Jose Mourinho's men will be looking to extend their lead at the top of La Liga against a side who will be hoping to pull off a major shock at the Bernabeu
By Luke Matthews
Diarra, Ramos, Albiol, Marcelo
Xabi Alonso, Khedira
Ozil, Kaka, Ronaldo
Nyom, Lopez, Diakhite, Siqueira
F. Rico, M. Rico
Jara, Abel, Uche
Jose Mourinho will be boosted by the return of Sergio Ramos who has shrugged off a hamstring injury. The Spanish international will replace Pepe, who is suspended, meaning Raul Albiol is likely to keep his place at centre-half.
After their dramatic 3-2 Copa del Rey victory over Malaga, Los Blancos are expected to ring the changes with Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Karim Benzema all likely to return to the starting line-up after impressive performances off the bench on Tuesday evening.
Angel Di Maria misses out with a thigh strain so Kaka will stay in the team while there are no places in the squad for Alvaro Arveloa and Fabio Coentrao so Lassana Diarra is likely to start at right-back.
Returning after the winter break, Granada have no major injury concerns going into the game, but one man who will not feature is Yohan Mollo who has left the club to go on loan to Nancy.
Pape Diakhite is expected to continue at centre-half alongside Inigo Lopez, while Odion Ighalo is likely to line up as a lone frontman, with support coming courtesy of Gonzalo Jara and Ikechukwu Uche.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Real Madrid have won their first Liga game of the new year for the past 20 seasons (since a 3-0 defeat to rivals Atletico Madrid in 1991).
- If Mourinho's men keep up their current goals per game ratio this season of 3.5, they would break their existing record of 107 goals in a single campaign, set in 1989-90.
- Barcelona ended Madrid's run of eight straight league wins at home back in December.
- Granada are the lowest scoring side in Liga this season (10) yet possess the joint-third strongest defence (conceding only 16 goals).
- The newly-promoted club are unbeaten after taking the lead this season (five wins and one draw).
- Nine different players have scored for Fabri's side this campaign, with Guillherme Siqueira the club's top scorer with two goals.
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Top 3 Predictions
Real Madrid CF 5-0 Granada
- 20.83 %
Real Madrid CF 4-0 Granada
- 17.82 %
Real Madrid CF 3-0 Granada
- 9.09 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Jan 25, 2014||Real Madrid CF 2 - Granada 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Aug 26, 2013||Granada 0 - Real Madrid CF 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Feb 2, 2013||Granada 1 - Real Madrid CF 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Sep 2, 2012||Real Madrid CF 3 - Granada 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||May 5, 2012||Granada 1 - Real Madrid CF 2|
|Real Madrid CF|
|Mar 2, 2014||Atletico Madrid 2 - Real Madrid CF 2||LIGA|
|Feb 26, 2014||Schalke 04 1 - Real Madrid CF 6||UCL|
|Feb 22, 2014||Real Madrid CF 3 - Elche 0||LIGA|
|Feb 16, 2014||Getafe 0 - Real Madrid CF 3||LIGA|
|Feb 11, 2014||Atletico Madrid 0 - Real Madrid CF 2||ESPC|
The German playmaker came off the bench to help his side reverse a 2-0 deficit to defeat Malaga on Tuesday and expect the player's vision to cause Granada all sorts of problems.
Granada pulled off a real coup when they signed the former Dynamo Kiev man in the summer for a club record fee and the 27-year-old will need to be in top form if he is going to stop the most prolific attack in La Liga.
It is difficult to see anything other than a convincing home victory on Saturday as Jose Mourinho's men look to extend their lead at the top of the table. Granada have done well since their promotion but will struggle to keep up with the superstars of Madrid.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed