Malaga vs. Barcelona: Why Barcelona Will Remain Undefeated
The La Liga game of the week will pit undefeated Barcelona against soaring Malaga in what will be a testing away match for La Blaugrana.
Everyone is aware that Barcelona is having one of the best seasons in history. But it is Malaga who is shocking the world. The spirited club currently sits fourth in the table, only five points behind faltering Real Madrid.
La Rosaleda has been a barracks this season for Malaga as the outfit has played remarkably well at home.
However, Barcelona has had no trouble getting results at home or away as the Catalans remain undefeated halfway through the season.
But Malaga will prove a huge test for La Blaugrana. Malaga is sporting the best defense in La Liga, having only surrendered 13 goals the entire season. Yet Barcelona is the strongest offensive club this season scoring an outstanding 61 goals thus far (via fcbarcelona).
With the league’s best offense playing against the best defense, the game is sure to be exciting. But there is great reason to expect that Barcelona will earn a huge win against Malaga.
To find out why Barcelona should win big at La Rosaleda, continue reading.
The Barcelona Stars Are Rested
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The most obvious reason for fans to expect a big win for Barcelona is the fact that nearly the entire squad will be freshly rested.
In La Blaugrana’s midweek win against Cordoba a number of stars did not feature.
Lionel Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Pedro, Sergio Busquets, Victor Valdes and Jordi Alba were all given the day off and will be at their very best when the whistle is blown at La Rosaleda (via Goal).
But it is not just the fact that these stars got rest that ensures a victory. Entering the game against Malaga, Barcelona is playing their very best football of the season.
The Catalan giants have scored nine goals in two games while also securing clean sheets in both encounters. Fantastic form coupled with energetic stars will pose a daunting task for Malaga to overcome.
If there is one player in the world that hates resting, it is Lionel Messi. The Argentine sat out the game against Cordoba and will be absolutely ferocious in his attempts against Malaga.
With a Messi more dangerous than usual and Barcelona peaking, Malaga stands very little chance of earning points at home.
The Wingers Are Now Performing
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Entering 2013, Barcelona was facing a big problem in one specific area. The wingers were not contributing goals, and all the pressure began to be put on the shoulders of Lionel Messi.
I recently stated in an article that the wingers must step up if Barcelona is to continue their amazing season.
David Villa, Pedro and Alexis Sanchez have all struggled to earn a starting position as well as score major goals. Villa has scored the most, but his recent play has been lacking as much as anyone in the squad.
But to the disdain of Malaga, all three have started 2013 in a phenomenal way.
In the two games of the young year, six goals have been scored by the wingers, who each contributed a brace. Though Alexis Sanchez was lucky to score his two goals against Cordoba, it will at least give the Chilean confidence.
Now with the final piece of the Barcelona puzzle taking shape, Malaga will have much more to deal with than just Lionel Messi.
David Villa and Pedro could both start the game and will give the Malaga defense a headache on top of the damage that Messi will likely deal.
With the wingers finally showing their true ability for the Catalans, Barcelona is better than ever and Malaga will be an unfortunate witness to the strengthened side.
The Once Shaky Defense Is Now Steady
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One gigantic question that Barcelona faced at the beginning of the season was that of the defense. Yet at this point, the back line of La Blaugrana is steady and ready to tame the Malaga attack.
With the foot injury of Gerard Pique and a dislocated elbow suffered Carles Puyol at the start of the season, the Barcelona defense looked lost. Cheap goals were being conceded and the entire back four looked to be in shambles.
However, many are not giving credit to Barcelona for the current state of the defense.
With Pique and Puyol finally back to their best, the defense is rock solid. Yet it is not only the dynamic duo that is contributing. Mascherano has finally found his form of last season while Dani Alves now looks healthy.
Jordi Alba is currently making his case for the best left-back in the world, while both Adriano and Martin Montoya are fighting for a starting spot.
The entire defense is now pulling its weight. With half of the season gone, Barcelona can boast the third best defense in the league having only conceded 19 goals this year (via fcbarcelona).
With the woes of defense now a thing of the past, Barcelona can now start a variety of players at the back with a guaranteed success rate. The Malaga attack will not be able to penetrate such a strong Blaugrana defense.
Sergio Busquets Will Stop Isco
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The brightest spot in the Malaga squad is young Isco, who is having a tremendous season now that Santi Cazorla is out of the picture.
If Malaga is able to defeat Barcelona, it will be due to the genius of Isco.
Yet every great team has an answer for the tactics of an opponent. Sergio Busquets will be the X-factor in the attempt to silence young Isco, and more importantly, Malaga.
It will be on the shoulders of Busquets to stifle the Malaga star, but viewers should expect a good duel. Busquets is arguably the best in the world at his position, and Isco will face the greatest opposition of his young career.
With the 24-year-old Catalan having one of his best seasons ever, there is reason to believe that Isco will be stopped.
The talented Barcelona midfielder is experienced in shutting down opposing play. There is no reason to think that Malaga will get the better of the Barcelona pivot.
Busquets will not only be able to shut down Isco, but his reading of the game will substantially limit the amount of touches the young star gets.
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The meeting between Malaga and Barcelona will offer a lot of excitement. Fans of football will want to watch every second of the mouthwatering encounter.
Yet it will be Barcelona who will triumph at La Rosaleda. With all the factors mentioned, Malaga stands little chance of being able topple the Barcelona giants.
La Blaugrana will remain undefeated in La Liga with this big win, but the outcome will mean more for Malaga. If Real Madrid takes three points this weekend, the dream of finishing the season ahead of the Madrid club will be dashed for Malaga.
I predict a shocking 4-0 win for Barcelona.
To expect four goals for Barcelona against such strong opposition does seem insane, but the way the Catalans are performing it should be almost expected. But a clean sheet will be the most precious thing in the Barcelona victory.
Expect Lionel Messi to score a brace as he so often does. But David Villa and Pedro could also continue their comebacks to form with a goal each.
If this does end up being the outcome in Malaga, the world will have to take notice. Not only will this feed the discussion of Barcelona being the best in the world, it will show they are vastly above the other contenders.
How do you see the match playing out? Will Barcelona win big or will Malaga gain yet another huge victory on their season? Don’t forget to leave your thoughts and comments below.
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