Malaga vs Barcelona
Spanish La Liga
Date: Saturday, 8th April 2017
Kick off at 19:45 UK/ 20:45 CET
Venue: Estadio La Rosaleda.
Boiling point has been reached in the title race, and Barca coach Luis Enrique will want to be crowned champion of Spain again as he departs the Catalan club in the summer.
Barca have continued to keep the pressure up on Real at the summit, and Lionel Messi has returned positively after recent disappointments with Argentina.
The attacker scored a brace as Barca swept past Sevilla 3-0, with their opponents now a shadow of the team that stayed on the tail of Spain's top two for much of the season.
Enrique's side have scored 88 goals in their 30 league matches—which amounts to 10 more strikes than Los Blancos have achieved.
They also carry a superior defensive record compared to Real but ultimately still trail in the race for the prize.
Malaga have struggled this season and languish in 15th place in the division.
Sporting Gijon and Granada's points totals have protected the Anchovies from the threat of relegation, but they have just seven wins to their name in La Liga this season.
Despite their home advantage, there could be an avalanche of goals at the Estadio La Rosaleda. Malaga are eight points clear of the drop zone, and they will find it difficult to motivate themselves against a superior opponent.
Anything but a Barca victory would be a shock in Andalusia, and Malaga simply do not have the weapons to win this type of contest at present.
According to WhoScored.com, the hosts will be without injured pair Zdravko Kuzmanovic and Bakary Kone, while Keko is suspended. Barca also have players missing as Aleix Vidal and Rafinha remain sidelined with injury. Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic will also miss the trip as they serve bans.
The team led by Jose Michel has been in a dismal streak of six consecutive games without a victory (Malaga lost four matches during the process) before the super important success at El Molinon.
It was former Barcelona’s youngster Sandro Ramirez who made the difference scoring the only goal of the game five minutes from time.
The Catalans continued with their chase at the top of the table. They are still two points behind Real Madrid who also have a game in hand and Barca must not allow any more slip ups until the end of the season if they want to stay in the contest for defending the title.
Luis Enrique’s men have been in a terrific attacking shape recently as they scored 11 goals in three consecutive wins over Valencia, Granada and Sevilla.
Lionel Messi bagged a brace, while Luis Suarez scored a spectacular bicycle-kick goal to finish the job for Blaugrana in the very first half.
Malaga vs Barcelona: Head to head
Barac have obviously been the dominant side in head to head clashes with Malaga, but Boquerones are among rare teams which managed to take a point from Camp Nou in this season holding the Catalans to a goalless draw in November last year.
Malaga vs Barcelona: Prediction
The gulf in quality is huge, Barca have an imperative to take three points and we see a pleasant evening for the visiting team at La Rosaleda.
Malaga vs Barcelona: Bet Tips
The number one call is Barcelona to win to nil at 2.50 with Bet365