Barcelona vs Malaga : Match preview
Lionel Messi is expected to make his return to the Barcelona side for the Liga tour to Malaga on Saturday.
The Argentine forward missed Barcelona’s Copa del Rey semi-final first leg trip at Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday – coach Luis Enrique avoiding to risk his talisman who had been somewhat struggling with a hamstring injury.
Aleix Vidal, however, could be in doubt after sustaining a concussion in the match against Bilbao. Vidal was not involved in full training also on Thursday in the build-up to the game night.
Gerard Pique will also have to be absent for Barca due to suspension, with Thomas Vermaelen expected tonight to deputise, and Jordi Alba also struggling with a muscular strain. Sergi Roberto could well fill in at left-back after he earned splendid reviews from Luis Enrique for his exceptional display at Bilbao in midweek.
Reacting impressively to Roberto’s performance, the coach remarked: “It has been great because it cannot be easy having to defend against a player like [Inaki] Williams, who is very physical.
“Sergi has a very powerful physique and can become a great full-back.”
Malaga, who have not been defeated a home match in La Liga since a long duration of November 7, are capable of springing a remarkable shock according to the midfielder Ignacio Camacho.
Malaga sit 12th in the liga standings, eight points well above the relegation zone after a handsome run of form which has included an impressive four wins and a draw from their previous six league matches, and Camacho has been rather pleased with his side’s performances.
“Against Sevilla we did not get a point [Malaga lost 2-1 in their last league outing], but the performance of the team was very good,” he said.
“We have to keep (going) and not give up.”
Arthur Boka although misses out for Malaga through his suspension, with Miguel Torres set to arrive into the side at left-back.
The Blaugranas have lost just one of their past eight league games against Andalusian teams (W6 D1), with an average of 3.37 goals for and 0.62 against.