La Liga - Team news: Rested Barca ready for Real

Fri, 26 Nov 15:07:00 2010

Recent form is irrelevant for Monday's 'clasico' at the Nou Camp against La Liga leaders Real Madrid as these type of matches are a one-off, Barcelona's Javier Mascherano has said.

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"I'm one of those that doesn't believe that current form is important for a 'clasico'," the Argentina midfielder said.

"We are at home in front of our own fans, which gives us a small plus, but we know we are up against a great team that is doing very well. They aren't leaders by accident."

Real and second-placed Barcelona both head into the match with five consecutive wins in all competitions.

Barca coach Pep Guardiola gave his side a rest day on Friday and does not have any major injury problems for the clash.

Real's Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain and Germany midfielder Sami Khedira worked in the gym on Thursday recovering from the back and thigh problems respectively that kept them out of the midweek Ajax game, but both are expected to be fit in time.

Spanish media have speculated that Real coach Jose Mourinho could alter his standard 4-2-3-1 formation by fielding Lassana Diarra in place of the more creative Mesut Ozil, to add extra bite to his midfield.

In-form Spain striker Fernando Llorente, who has nine league goals this season, has had a stomach complaint which has disrupted his preparations for Athletic Bilbao's home clash with northern rivals Osasuna on Sunday.

New Almeria coach Jose Luis Oltra debuts away at Valencia on Sunday, hoping for a reaction after the 8-0 thrashing suffered against Barca last weekend that led to the sacking of his predecessor Juan Manuel Lillo.

Reuters

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