There will be just one of the regular first choice defenders on the pitch when Real Madrid attempt to get the Primera Liga campaign back on track against Real Sociedad today. Alvaro Arbeloa is the only one who is not injured or suspended for this vital game, and he will probably play out of his normal position.
Because both left backs, Marcelo and Coentrao are not fit to play, Arbeloa will play in that position. Essien may be called upon to fill in at right back, as he has done for Mourinho before. Pepe and Albiol are also injured, while Ramos is suspended, so the youngster Varane and the veteran Carvalho will be the central defenders.
Sociedad will gain a lot of confidence from this defensive line up, and will feel that they have a great chance to take advantage of Madrid’s troubles. They will still have to get past Casillas, though, as Mourinho seems to have decided toignore their differences for the good of the team, although he does not have much choice because of the problems with defence.
Mourinho does have a full strength midfield and attack to choose from, however. He will probably select Khedira alongside Alonso, to offer protection to the back four. With Ozil, Di Maria, Modric, Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuain, Callejon and Kaka to choose from, there is no shortage of attacking flair and creativity.
Madrid must get on the front foot and keep Sociedad focused on their own defence. If the players are together and up for the game, we should get a good result, but if there is the lack of effort and cohesion we have seen at times this season, it could be a very long 90 minutes.