La Liga Preview: Malaga - Barcelona
Pep Guardiola's men will be looking to continue their 12-game unbeaten record when they visit the Andalusian club on Sunday in pursuit of leaders Real Madrid in La Liga
By Luke Matthews
Sanchez, Demichelis, Mathijsen, Monreal
Cazorla, Toulalan, Duda, Eliseu
Alves, Puyol, Pique, Adriano
Thiago, Mascherano, Iniesta
Messi, Cesc, Cuenca
Malaga could hand a debut to goalkeeper Carlos Kameni who has recently joined the club from Espanyol. One player who will not be playing is Apono who has joined Real Zaragoza on loan for the rest of the season after failing to see eye-to-eye with coach Manuel Pellegrini.
Duda could be set to to start the game in central midfield alongside Jeremy Toulalan while Pellegrini may opt to drop Ruud van Nistelrooy in favour of another midfielder, with Diego Buonanotte the player could come into the team.
Ruben and Julio Baptista both miss out through injury while Helder Rosario and Joaquin look to have shrugged off knocks and should be available for selection if needed.
The visitors have several players out for the encounter including Seydou Keita who is away at the 2012 African Cup of Nations. David Villa, Andreu Fontas and Ibrahim Afellay are also ruled out through long-term injuries.
Pedro, however, has been passed fit to play after taking part in Saturday morning's training session.
With another meeting against Jose Mourinho's side coming up this Wednesday, Pep Guardiola may rotate his squad with Adriano, Thiago, Javier Mascherano and Isaac Cuenca all vying for starts.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
Malaga are the last team to score five goals against Barcelona in La Liga (in a 5-1 win in December 2003). Since then, they have scored only four goals versus the Catalan giants in 11 meetings.
- Manuel Pellegrini's men have went five league games without a victory, their worst run of the season.
- The big-spending Andalusians are the only team in the Primera Division this campaign to not have a defender score for them.
- Barcelona have dropped as many points on the road this season as they did for the whole of the 2010-11 campaign (11).
- Pep Guardiola's side have the best defensive record in Liga, conceding 11 goals from 18 games so far.
- Lionel Messi has only scored one away goal in the league this season, in the 2-2 draw against Athletic Bilbao.
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Top 3 Predictions
Malaga 0-3 FC Barcelona
- 23.91 %
Malaga 0-4 FC Barcelona
- 12.73 %
Malaga 1-3 FC Barcelona
- 11.19 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Jan 26, 2014||FC Barcelona 3 - Malaga 0|
|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|
|Mar 1, 2014||Malaga 1 - Valladolid 1||LIGA|
|Feb 22, 2014||Almeria 0 - Malaga 0||LIGA|
|Feb 17, 2014||Malaga 0 - Real Sociedad 1||LIGA|
|Feb 8, 2014||Rayo Vallecano 4 - Malaga 1||LIGA|
|Feb 1, 2014||Malaga 3 - Sevilla 2||LIGA|
|22||Ruud Van Nistelrooy||Striker|
|21||Sebastián Fernández Miglierina||Striker|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|12||Jonathan Dos Santos||Midfielder|
The former Villarreal man will be given the task of providing the creativity in the Malaga team and if the Andalusians are to beat the champions, the Spanish international will need to be on top form on Sunday.
Since David Villa broke his leg before Christmas, the 24-year-old has found himself up front on a regular basis and the former Arsenal player's movement and passing will be key to opening up the Malaga defence.
Barcelona are in good form and after their Clasico Copa del Rey victory on Wednesday, the team from Catalunya will be brimming with confidence. Malaga on the otherhand are on a five-game winless streak so expect the visitors to pick up a relatively straightforward win.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed