The three new arrivals to Real Madrid in the winter transfer market could all make their debuts for the club in the first match of the New Year against Deportivo La Coruña, if the reports coming from Spain are to be believed.
Fernando Gago is tipped to play alongside Emerson in midfield, as Diarra still seems to be out of favour with Capello following some indiscreet comments he made to Cassano before the game at Espanyol, and which, unfortunately for him, were caught on camera.
Roberto Carlos is doubtful for the game through injury after an accidental clash with David Beckham during training on Thursday. If he does end up not playing, it will only be his tenth game missed through injury in a 10-season career at the club. The Brazilian left-back could be replaced by his countryman Marcelo, as the only straight replacement in that position. Raúl Bravo, who has played as left-back in some of the few occasions when Roberto Carlos has been absent, is currently out of favour and rarely trains with the rest of the squad.
Earlier in the week, it was anticipated that Higuaín might be given a run-out in the second half, to replace the likely starter, Ronaldo, as van Nistelrooy was nursing an injury, and the only other striker, Cassano, is likely to be leaving the club in the next few weeks. However, van Nistelrooy seems to have recovered in the last couple of days, so his chances are rather slim.
Real Madrid will look to break their run of poor results at the Riazor stadium, where they have not won a league game against Deportivo for 15 years. Admittedly, Deportivo are not the force they once were, and have not won a league game out of the last nine, but Real need the three points if they are to keep up with the leaders.