Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona, 2011 El Clasico: Alvaro Arbeloa And Nuri Sahin Cleared To Play

So there hasn't been tons of news coming out of the Real Madrid camp for the past week--apart from the revelation that los blancos are planning on playing a 4-3-3 with a defensive trivot, which we can calmly file into the "well, duuuuh" section of our brains. Most of the speculation, then, has centered on the fitness of a couple key members of the squad: right back Alvaro Arbeloa and center midfielder Nuri Sahin both came into clásico week nursing minor injuries, and their status has been uncertain. Well, until recently, that is. 

Both players have been cleared to play for Real Madrid tonight, and there is little doubt that José Mourinho will be thrilled: Arbeloa has played magnificently at right back for Madrid since Ricardo Carvalho went down, forcing Mourinho to shift Sergio Ramos into the center of the defense. The plucky Spaniard will probably get the start tonight on the right side of the defense (at least Spanish tabloid Marca thinks so!).

Nuri Sahin's fitness has been in doubt for most of the year: out with injuries until November, the exciting Turk has just begun to play for Mourinho, getting time against Ajax in Amsterdam, Sporting Gijón, and Atlético Madrid. But he hasn't looked too comfortable yet in the holding midfield role for Madrid, so I would wager against him playing a significant role in tonight's marquee matchup. 

We'll have live coverage of El Clasico from just before 4:00 p.m. ET, when lineups are released. For more on the two teams, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes. Check out SB Nation Soccer and our El Clasico StoryStream for more in the build-up to the game. For more from around the world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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