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La Liga, Real Madrid vs Granada: Match preview

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

La Liga is back for Real Madrid, who need to collect pretty much every point remaining if they want to keep the race for the 2014-2015 Liga BBVA title alive. They will begin their chase by hosting second-to-last Granada at the Bernabéu in a match that will be highlighted by James Rodríguez's return to the starting lineup after missing two months with an injury.

With Isco out suspended, Ancelotti has every reason to smile about having James back. The Colombian midfielder completed some very good performances during the first half of the season, and his teammates have missed his creativity and playmaking abilities, even though Isco managed to fill his shoes throughout most of Rodríguez's absence.

Granada have only scored 18 goals on their 28 Liga BBVA games, and they are clearly underperforming with a roster that should not be struggling this much. Featuring players like Iturra, Jhon Córdoba or Lass Bangoura, Granada could be safe from relegation had they not started the season so poorly under Joaquín Caparrós -- who was thought to be a good coach for this team --.

Ancelotti and his men were able to beat Granada 0-4 on their first meeting in a game that most fans remember because of James' beautiful volley off a Karim Benzema backheel assist. The Italian coach announced that he will make some rotations during this busy month in which his team will play 8 games. For instance, Dani Carvajal and Sami Khedira have not been included on the team's list, meaning that Álvaro Arbeloa will most likely get a chance to start in the right side of Real's defensive line. Pepe will also sit this game with a small injury that will not keep him out of Real Madrid's big Champions League challenge against Atlético de Madrid, so Varane will have another chance to prove his value as a starter amid transfer rumors that place him in Chelsea, Manchester United or Manchester City next season.

Modric and Kroos will play alongside James in the midfield, with Bale, Ronaldo and Benzema featuring upfront and trying to gain some momentum for this tough month for Los Blancos ahead.

Considering that everyone is already expecting a fairly comfortable win for Real Madrid, the focus will be on how the team performs after this FIFA break. The team completed a good display against FC Barcelona in the last Liga game but ended up losing the Clásico 2-1 and making their chances at the title much smaller. If Gareth Bale is able to contribute offensively the way he did with Wales, this one should be a piece of cake for Los Blancos.

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