Spanish powerhouse Barcelona hosts Malaga at Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon, looking to seize the top spot in the league.
The Catalan giants hold second position on the table with 25 points, and are just two points behind their biggest rivals Real Madrid. Luis Enrique’s side will move to the summit of the table if Real Madrid lose the Madrid derby on Saturday.
Malaga sits exactly in the middle of the table with 15 points in their pockets. They seem to have regained some composure when they defeated Sporting Gijon 3-2 on their home in their latest match. Juande Ramos’ team performance at away games has been appalling, as they have lost three and drawn two matches.
Barcelona have utterly dominated Malaga when it comes to recent matches. In their previous 32 meetings, they have won 23, drawn six and lost only three matches. In the last match between these two teams, Barcelona emerged victorious 2-1 at Malaga’s home.
Watch the video preview of the game here.
Team News: Barcelona
Luis Suarez, this season’s joint top scorer alongside Messi with eight goals, will miss the match due to suspension. Luis Enrique will find it tough to replace his in-form striker. However, when you have Lionel Messi and Neymar, there is something you can relax about.
Watch the highlights of Messi’s amazing performance against Colombia this week.
Andres Iniesta’s injury will heavily affect the team midfield’s balance and creativity. The playmaker, who suffered from ligament injury in the game against Valencia, is doubtful against Malaga.
Alexi Vidal will also be unavailable for selection due to a hamstring injury.
Gerard Pique is back in training and ready to play the next match after recovering from an ankle injury. Pique’s re-addition with the team should solidify Barca’s fragile defensive line in the recent matches.
Barcelona: Predicted Line-up
Ter Stegen — Pique, Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Sergio Roberto — Rakitic, Busquets, Denis Suarez — Alcacer, Messi, Neymar
Team News: Malaga
Juande Ramos’ side has long list of injuries going towards this match. Midfielder Kuzmanovic hasn’t recovered yet from his achilles injury, which rules him out for the match against the Catalans.
Defender Diego Llorente, who has been one of the regular starters for Malaga, will be sidelined due to a foot injury. His absence from the side will benefit Neymar and Messi to penetrate the weakened Malaga backline. Moreover, Charles, Recio, and Keko will too miss the match due to injury concerns.
Malaga: Predicted Line-up
Kameni — Torres, Villanueva, Rosales, Juan Carlos — Fornals, Camacho — Castro, Anor, Jony — Ramirez
Barcelona vs. Malaga: Head-to-Head
Total games: 32
Barca wins: 26
Malaga wins: 3
Barcelona vs. Malaga: TV Schedule and Channel
In the U.S., the match will be live on beIN SPORTS USA, beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A., fuboTV, and beIN SPORTS en Espanol. For other regions, TV schedule and channel can be found in the link here.
If you want to watch the match streaming live online for free, you can click in the link provided at the end of this article.
Barcelona vs. Malaga: Prediction
Having the top spot in mind, Barcelona will play with everything they have got to win this match. They are certainly the better team and their fans support should increase player’s energy and thus the game’s tempo. Though they will be missing Luis Suarez and Iniesta, Messi and Neymar can get Barca to the top.
Malaga will also put their total effort to turn around this fixture onto their side.
We predicted this match to be a walk in the park for Messi and Co.
Final Predicted Score. Barcelona 4- 1 Malaga
Barca vs. Malaga: Betting Tips and Odds
- Barcelona Win: 1/9
- A draw: 17/2
- Malaga Win: 20/1
- Under 2.5 goals: 5/2
- Over 2.5 goals: 1/4
- Both teams score: 10/11
- Both teams fail to score: 4/5
The odds were provided by Paddypower.
Key Stats to consider
- Barcelona has won 15 of their last 18 matches against Malaga.
- Barcelona has not tasted single defeat in 28 of their last 31 matches at the Camp Nou (La Liga).
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in five of Barcelona’s last six games (La Liga).
- Malaga has failed to win any of their last eight outings. (La Liga).
The Barcelona vs. Malaga stats were provided by Whoscored.
Barcelona vs Malaga: Live Stream
The match can be streamed live online by clicking at this link.
[Featured Image by Alex Caparros/Getty Images]