La Liga preview: Malaga - Barcelona
Pep Guardiola's side finish another successful domestic campaign with a match against the in-form Andalucians
By Robin Bairner
Caballero; Gamez, Stadsgaard, Weligton, Mtiliga; Fernandez, Camacho, Duda; Maresca; Baptista, Rondon
Striker Julio Baptista is doubtful due to a muscular problem, while Rondon remains injured.
Valdes; Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Abidal; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Villa
Everyone in the Catalans’ squad is fit to some extent, with Carles Puyol and Gabriel Milito both joining in Thursday’s training session, though the two centre-backs should still be considered doubtful. Adriano, meanwhile, shall be fit.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Malaga may be firmly in the heart of the Primera Division table, but they are top of the form charts, having won five of their last eight games.
- Despite this recent surge, the Andalusian outfit still haven’t fared well at home this season; only Almeria have won fewer points than their 24.
- Los Boquerones have lost 65 goals this season – the same number as Real Sociedad – and if they concede more than the Basques on Saturday, they could well finish as the league’s worst defensive side.
- In their last 10 matches, they’ve only lost six goals, winning five of their last six outings.
- Barcelona, though the league’s second top scorers, have only mustered 11 goals in their last eight fixtures.
- While the Blaugrana’s offence has been misfiring strangely, they’ve been robust at the back, conceding only five times during that period – fewer than any other side.
- In matches that are tied at half-time, Barca have gone on to win seven of their 11 fixtures, which is a better record than any team in the league.
- Pep Guardiola’s side are unbeaten against teams in the top half of the standings, yet they’ve twice been beaten when facing a lower 10 outfit.
- With only 16 goals conceded in 32 games, Victor Valdes will claim the Zamora Trophy ahead of Iker Casillas.
- Barcelona’s goal difference is an incredible +71, but at one stage earlier this season they were threatening to break the 100 barrier.
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Top 3 Predictions
Malaga 0-3 FC Barcelona
- 14.79 %
Malaga 0-2 FC Barcelona
- 12.76 %
Malaga 1-3 FC Barcelona
- 6.48 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Aug 25, 2013||Malaga 0 - FC Barcelona 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Jun 1, 2013||FC Barcelona 4 - Malaga 1|
|Spain - Copa del Rey (ESPC)||Jan 24, 2013||Malaga 2 - FC Barcelona 4|
|Spain - Copa del Rey (ESPC)||Jan 16, 2013||FC Barcelona 2 - Malaga 2|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Jan 13, 2013||Malaga 1 - FC Barcelona 3|
|Dec 8, 2013||Malaga 3 - Osasuna 3||ESPC|
|Nov 29, 2013||Villarreal 1 - Malaga 1||LIGA|
|Nov 25, 2013||Malaga 1 - Athletic Bilbao 2||LIGA|
|Nov 8, 2013||Granada 3 - Malaga 1||LIGA|
|Nov 3, 2013||Malaga 3 - Betis 2||LIGA|
|21||Sebastián Fernández Miglierina||Striker|
|1||Francesc Arnau Grabalosa||Goalkeeper|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|-||Andreu Fontàs Prat||Defender|
|12||Jonathan Dos Santos||Midfielder|
If at all possible, Julio Baptista will be in the Malaga starting XI, and he has shown that he has the potential to seriously disrupt Barcelona. Though he’s struggled to settle in recent years, the Brazilian’s form has been irreproachable since returning to Spain in January. He has struck nine goals in 11 appearances, including four headers. Barca beware.
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