Pepe makes way in the backline as the captain returns after several games out with a calf injury. Danilo also loses his place after failing to impress at right-back in the 1-1 draw at Real Betis last time out, with Dani Carvajal restored to the starting XI.
For the visitors from Barcelona, new manager Constantin Galca is forced into five changes from the side that were held to a 2-2 draw by Villarreal last weekend.
Leading scorer Felipe Caceido is out with an injury, meaning a rare start up front for youngster Mamadou Sylla. There is also a change between the sticks as Arla manages to unseat Pau Lopez in the lineup.
Real Madrid: Navas; Ramos, Varane, Carvajal, Marcelo; Modric, Kroos; James, Ronaldo, Isco; Benzema
Subs: Kiko Casilla, Nacho, Casemiro, Vazquez, Kovacic, Jese, Danilo
Espanyol: Arla; Javi Lopez, Alvaro, Roco, Duarte; Diop, Victor, Jordan, Salva, Hernan Perez; Mamadou
Subs: Pau, Abraham, Montanes, Canas, Ciani, Fuentes, Duarte
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