Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Team News, Predicted Lineups for El Clasico

Mikhail Turner@MikhailTurnerContributor IIIDecember 8, 2011

'El Clasico' returns this weekend.
'El Clasico' returns this weekend.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

This Saturday's game between Real Madrid and Barcelona cannot come any sooner for fans worldwide. This season's first rendition of El Clasico will be played in the capital of Spain and—after the events of last season's five encounters—one can only imagine what this game has in store.

The two teams have already met this season in the Spanish Super Cup, and Barcelona came out on top on that occasion. Real Madrid threw the kitchen sink at the Catalans but still could not find a way through.

Still, that close encounter was probably a sign of things to come.

There is no doubt that Madrid is a much bigger threat this year than they were before. The team is brushing away any opponent that crosses its path, and with their position in the league, they certainly have the upper hand in this game.

This Barcelona squad is under constant review and, as pointed out by Barcelona-based freelance writer Graham Hunter, they have not been at their best. This Clasico may be just the thing that this team needs to get back to their brilliant best.

Real Madrid Team News

Real Madrid fielded a second-string side against Ajax over the mid-week, and the team should be raring to go. Ricardo Carvalho is likely to miss the game due to injury, which does not bode well for the defense.

Otherwise, the team is fully fit, and with their form so far this season—and especially at home—they will be confident that they will come out on top this time. This will be Mourinho's eighth Clasico, and he has won only one so far.

Barcelona Team News

Barcelona are basically at full strength as well, but the formation they will play is in question. In recent weeks, it has been reported that Pep Guardiola would field a 3-5-2 formation. I highly doubt that will be the case.

Barcelona's away form has not been at all good so far this season, but again, the Clasico is no mere game, and they should be fully up to the task. This Clasico would mark Barcelona midfielder Xavi's 600th appearance for the club.

Predicted lineups

Real Madrid: Casilles; Diarra, Albiol, Ramos, Marcelo; Pepe, Alonso, Coentrao; Ronaldo, Benzema, Di Maria

Barcelona: Valdes; Alves, Puyol, Pique, Abidal; Mascherano, Xavi, Iniesta; Sanchez, Messi, Villa


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