MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 03: Karim Benzema (L) of Real Madrid celebrates with Gonzalo Higuain after scoring Real's third goal during the round 16 Copa del Rey 1st leg match between Real Madrid and Malaga at Bernabeu on January 3, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Real Madrid will expect to win big against Granada in their first La Liga match following the winter break
Granada have done well so far this season to keep themselves out of the drop zone in La Liga, but they're coming up a likely insurmountable force in Real Madrid on Saturday. Los Merengues are unstoppable everywhere at the moment, but no one's expecting them to do anything but win emphatically at home against one of the teams in the bottom half of La Liga.
Madrid made things hard for themselves in mid-week, falling behind 2-0 to Malaga at home in the Copa Del Rey. They rallied back, however, scoring three goals in the second half to win 3-2 and put themselves in the driver's seat heading into the second leg of that tie next week. They'll be feeling confident heading into this match after that great second half performance, and they'll be happy that they got their post-break hangover out of the way before a league match.
Pepe is suspended for Real Madrid, while Ricardo Carvalho is still injured. This means Raul Albiol is likely to make a rare start in the middle. Madrid has so many great players in form that Mourinho has some serious selection dilemmas, but expect to see Sami Khedira, Mesut Özil and Karim Benzema beat their positional rivals for starting places.
Real Madrid vs. Granada
Game Date/Time: Saturday, January 7, 2:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
TV: GolTV (USA and Canada), Sky Sports 1 (UK)
For more on Los Merengues, check out Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid.