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Real Madrid Vs. Racing Santander, La Liga 2012 Match Preview: Madrid Wants to Keep the Streak Going

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Real Madrid will be seeking to extend its winning streak against Racing Santander tonight at 20:00 local time. With the upcoming Champions League match at Moscow in mind, Mourinho's team needs to keep winning these (theoretically) easy games so that by the time March comes around, they'll be winning by at least the same point-advantage.

With Álvaro Arbeloa, Lass and Altintop out of the list, Sergio Ramos is expected to return to the right back position, and Pepe will play with either Carvalho, Varane or Albiol alongisde him.

Mourinho said in yesterday's press conference that he is not planning to make any major changes to the team for tonight's game. If that's true, Granero and Xabi Alonso will be Real Madrid's midfielders, with Kaka, Özil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema playing upfront.

Argentinian winger Ángel Di María could be returning to the lineup, just like Marcelo and Khedira. But Real Madrid's coach might prefer to play them in Moscow instead of against one of the worst teams of la Liga.

Real Madrid could get a 0-0 draw in El Sardinero, after the loss against Levante. Los blancos weren't as strong then as they are now, but Atlético Madrid couldn't score in last week's game against Racing. Santander's goalkeeper Toño completed one of the best goalkeeping games la Liga has seen this season, so Falcao, Adrián and company finished the game 0-0 as well.

Things should be very different outside of El Sardinero. Real Madrid's problem with keeping a clean sheet at the Santiago Bernabéu is well-known, but Racing Santander is known for having scoring trouble--that's why Racing loaned striker Khouma Babacar from Fiorentina.

Babacar and former Real Madrid player Pedro Munitis are Racing's most dangerous weapons, but it would be a very big surprise if Racing got ahead in the scoreboard as Zaragoza, Bilbao and Levante have these past few months.

If Mourinho's team is able to score an early goal, Racing Santander could give up, which would allow Real Madrid to slow the game down and rest for the cold game that awaits the players in Russia's capital city. Given that Barcelona receives Valencia Sunday, maybe los merengues could even increase the 10-point lead they are enjoying right now.

The team needs to show their mental strength against Racing and take nothing for granted. Show your support by liking Managing Madrid on facebook, following us on twitter, and subscribing to our podcast available on iTunes.

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