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Real Madrid Vs. Levante, 2012 La Liga: Open Thread

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***UPDATE, 20:52 CET: Sami Khedira has been left out of the starting lineup as well. His spot will be taken by Esteban Granero, who has performed well in his limited time on the pitch. Expect to see Nuri Sahin get some minutes tonight as well.

***UPDATE, 20:44 CET: Kaká will not start, but neither will Di María. Instead, Benzema and Higuaín will play for Mourinho. It is being reported that Benzema will fall to the side in the attacking midfield trivot, while Higuaín will play in his natural CF position.

Real Madrid are set to take on Levante (21:30 CET, 3:30PM EST) in the Santiago Bernabéu stadium in Madrid tonight. It should be a tough, physical match, as Levante play a rough defensive style, and Real Madrid should be ready to do battle. If los blancos win, they will take a 10 point lead over rivals FC Barcelona in la Liga, and will take a giant leap towards unseating the Guardiola-era Barcelona juggernaut as the best side in the world. If they lose they will retain their seven point lead, but will have missed a sorely-needed opportunity to put another nail in Barcelona's coffin. And if they draw? Well, they will open an eight point lead over Barcelona, which is only marginally better than a seven point lead.

Consider this your space to talk about the game with other madridistas. Keep your comments polite and respectful--no overt profanity, certainly no racism, homophobia, xenophobia, or offensive language. Make sure this space is welcoming to new members (we're all one community, Managing Madrid specifically, and madridistas broadly), and polite with culés (though I doubt they'll want to come on).

While we don't have lineups yet, here are our MM projections:

Real Madrid XI: Iker Casillas; Alvaro Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Fabio Coentrão; Sami Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Mesut Özil, Kaká, Cristiano Ronaldo; Gonzalo Higuaín

Levante XI: Munúa; Del Horno, Cabral, Ballesteros, Javi Venta; Iborra, Farinós; Botelho, Suárez, Valdo; Koné

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