Malaga - Valencia Preview: Ambitious hosts aim to draw level with Los Che as battle for third place heats up
Three points apart, La Rosaleda plays host to the weekend's top Primera Division fixture, as the competitors fight for a Champions League qualification place
By Roger Gonzalez
Sanchez, Demichelis, Weligton, Monreal
Joaquin, Cazorla, Isco
Barragan, Rami, R. Costa, Jordi Alba
T. Costa, TopalFeghouli, Jonas, Mathieu
For the home side, the team is healthy entering the contest, aside from Julio Baptista, who is still suffering from a lower leg injury.
Valencia are still without Ever Banega, who will not return this season due to injury, while Sergio Canales, who missed six months with a right knee injury before recently returning, will miss another six months after again hurting the same knee on Thursday. In addition, David Albelda will miss this game due to suspension.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Valencia, who sit in third place in La Liga with 55 points, were just ousted from the Europa League semi-finals after losing to Atletico Madrid 5-2 on aggregate.
- Los Che took down the hosts 2-0 in their first meeting in December, with both goals coming from Roberto Soldado.
- In their last two league victories, Valencia have scored four goals in each. In their last league loss, they allowed four goals.
- Malaga are in fourth place in La Liga with 52 points, three behind their opponents for Sunday.
- Manuel Pellegrini's men have not seen victory in their last three league clashes, drawing two and losing one, while scoring one goal in each contest.
- A loss on Sunday would see the team six points adrift of Valencia for an automatic Champions League spot with three league matches to go. The match is arguably a must-win for both, but more so for Malaga, who travel to Barcelona and Atletico Madrid before ending the season at home against Sporting Gijon. Emery's men finish the season with Osasuna and Villarreal at home, before traveling to face Real Sociedad.
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Top 3 Predictions
Malaga 1-2 Valencia CF
- 14.88 %
Malaga 2-1 Valencia CF
- 12.9 %
Malaga 1-1 Valencia CF
- 8.73 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Aug 17, 2013||Valencia CF 1 - Malaga 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Apr 20, 2013||Valencia CF 5 - Malaga 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Nov 24, 2012||Malaga 4 - Valencia CF 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Apr 29, 2012||Malaga 1 - Valencia CF 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Dec 18, 2011||Valencia CF 2 - Malaga 0|
|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|
|Oct 29, 2013||Espanyol 0 - Malaga 0||LIGA|
|22||Ruud Van Nistelrooy||Striker|
|21||Sebastián Fernández Miglierina||Striker|
|20||Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia||Striker|
The home side can't rely on Santi Cazorla to always score, so Rondon will have to step up. Valencia's defence always makes mistakes, so the striker will have to be alert to pounce on chances and punish Los Che.
Always better at home, this is Valencia's most important remaining game, and the former Getafe man will hope not to be missing in action. He tends to fade away on the road but can't afford to do the same on Sunday. Look for Soldado to have a couple golden chances, especially going against Martin Demichelis.
At home and with fans desperate for a win and European football, Malaga should have enough chances against a weak visiting defence to secure three important points
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed