Real Madrid Vs. Granada Match Preview: Madrid Seeks Three Points

MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 03: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring Real's third goal during the round 16 Copa del Rey 1st leg match between Real Madrid and Malaga at Bernabeu on January 3, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Granada will visit the Santiago Bernabéu tonight (20:00 local time), where they will try to ensure their place in the Liga's Primera División. The Andalusian team is carrying a two-game winning streak and drew good results in tough places such as Levante's field.

With Pepe suspended (he saw a red card in the last Liga game against Sevilla), Mourinho will probably start Sergio Ramos and Varane in center back. Coentrao and Arbeloa are out of the game too for a technical decision.

Real Madrid will be playing Málaga next Tuesday, so Mourinho was probably thinking about that game when he left Arbeloa and Coentrao out of tonight's game. The Spanish winger is the only pure right back in Real Madrid's roster, so the only other option that Mourinho has for the game against Granada will be Lass. He's in a good shape and has performed well in that position lately, so the French player will most likely cover that spot.

Given the circumstances, Khedira should be Xabi Alonso's partner. Mourinho has included Nuri Sahin in the list but it is not likely that the Turkish midfielder will get to play at all against Granada. Di María is also out, so Mourinho has to decide whether he is going to play Callejón or Özil in the wing. If he chooses the German player , Kaká will play behind the striker, but with Callejón's performance so far, the Spanish player will get the chance to start, which would allow Özil to play in his natural position.

Nobody doubts that Cristiano Ronaldo is going to start as well, so the other unknown position is the striker. Higuaín will probably be Mourinho's choice for the game against Málaga, so that would mean Benzema has more of a chance to start at the Bernabéu today.

Granada has a decent overall team, with the talents of Carlos Martins, a former Benfica player, Hassan Yebda, who is in a loan from Benfica and played for Napoli last season, and former Castilla midfielder Fran Rico. They're coached by Fabri, who led them to their first division promotion last season.

Given that the match is in Madrid's stadium, Mourinho's team should easily beat Granada, but in this kind of game, it is important to score the first goal early in the game so the other team surrenders and stops fighting.

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