Jose Mourinho probably had this match marked down in read in his calendar. Gonzalo Higuaín will be available once again after missing more than one month of action with an injury. Pipita's firepower could be much needed against Real Sociedad, a team that knows how to defend and counterattack to harm its opponents.
Did Higuaín's absence have something to do with Benzema's latest performances? Real Madrid's number 9 wasn't exactly poor, but he was indeed far from his best level. It's true that the team as a whole played disappointingly during December, but Real Madrid could've walked away from many games with a little bit more of clinical finishing from its strikers.
Now, the team's most accurate striker is back on the team's list to face Real Sociedad. Jose Mourinho must be anxious of putting him in the starting lineup, and this could be a very interesting game to do so. Real Sociedad doesn't like to play defensively and its defenders tend to leave some spaces. That's the style that suits Higuaín the best, and considering that Real Sociedad is likely to score, Real Madrid's coach might choose accuracy instead of team combinations.
Having Gonzalo back can only help Ángel Di María as well. The Argentinian winger seemed to have recovered a bit of his rhythm against Málaga, but he understands Higuaín's moves really well. They play really well together, and it would be good for Real Madrid to recover Di María and Higuaín's partnership when Benzema and Özil's seems to be a little bit off track.
Unfortunately enough, not everything surrounding this game is good for Mourinho. Pepe and Ramos will miss the game (the Portuguese had surgery and Ramos is suspended), and with Coentrao and Marcelo injured as well, The Special One will need to play Carvalho and Varane in the center. It's been a long time since Carvalho started a Liga BBVA game, and he could clearly lack some pace against Carlos Vela and Griezmann. But there are no more choices, so the veteran defender will need to make himself valuable once again.
Mourinho will also have to make some choices in Real Madrid's full backs positions. Arbeloa might play in the left to let Essien play in his better position in the defensive line. Academy player Nacho has performed well in the right back position, but Mourinho trusts Essien a lot. Considering Celta Vigo will visit the Santiago Bernabéu this next Wednesday to play the second game of the Copa del Rey tie, Nacho could give Essien some rest to allow the Bison play a much more comfortable match against Celta given his bad shape.
Iker Casillas and Antonio Adán will have to wait until match day to see which one of them is Real Madrid's starting goalkeeper. Mourinho confirmed that the goalie that sits on the bench against Real Sociedad will be the one who starts against Vigo in the Copa del Rey, so that probably means Casillas will play on Wednesday in a much more crucial game.
But, what could happen if Real Madrid doesn't manage to beat Real Sociedad with Casillas on the bench? There has been a lot of controversy, but the Bernabéu seems to respect the coach's decision. Still, the crowd's frustration if Vela and his teammates manage to get a good result out of the Bernabéu could lead up to a very bad situation in Real Madrid's stadium.
One way or another, everybody in the team seems ready to turn things around and play better football now.
Who will win the game?
Real Madrid (38 votes)
Draw (4 votes)
Real Sociedad (6 votes)
48 total votes