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Higuaín poised to return against resurgent Real Sociedad

Mourinho is without his first choice central defenders which indicates that Carvalho and Varane will start against La Real.


Higuaín poised to return against resurgent Real Sociedad

During the past 24 hours, a joke has been doing the rounds on Twitter: "Mourinho is going to field Jesús against La Real as punishment to Adán". It comes following the coach's comments in Saturday's pre-match press conference in which he explained that his first choice players shouldn't get too complacent about their place in the team.

Nor are we any the wiser about who will defend Madrid's goal against Phillip Montanier's team this evening although it is almost certain that Casillas will return to the starting XI and Adán will play Wednesday's Copa del Rey decider against Celta.

Following the Casillas episode, the club appears to have taken measures to restore calm. The daily press conferences have returned for example and relegating Iker to the sub's bench once again would come across as an act of defiance against the general opinion of the public but also against Florentino Pérez.

This evening's match will also be the perfect occasion for Madrid to make the peace with their supporters after the recent problems. They go into the game with a depleted defence - Pepe, Albiol, Marcelo and Coentrao are recovering from their respective injuries while Sergio Ramos is ineligible after accumulating the maximum of five bookings and must serve a one-match ban. Carvalho and Varane will pair up in central defence with either Nacho or Essien at left-back.

On a happier note, Gonzalo Higuaín has been training since the team returned to work after the Christmas break and it looks like El Pipa will feature ahead of Karim Benzema. The Argentinean has been out of action since picking up a hamstring injury back in November and the team has noticed his absence - and that of Marcelo.

No other surprises are expected - Di María, Özil and Cristiano remain the coach's preferred choices up front with Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira forming the midfield pivot.

La Real meanwhile have no major injury concerns and are in a positive moment of form. Montanier's side have collected eight points from a possible 12 in their last four away trips. On the eve of the game, the French coach said that he has his players were excited by the prospect of taking on Madrid whilst adding that he expects "a complicated encounter".

Estadísticas AS.com