Predicted Barcelona XI To Face Malaga
Barcelona will look to keep the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid when they visit the La Rosaleda to face Malaga on Saturday night.
The Catalan outfit have put together a good string of results winning three in three after the loss to Deportivo La Coruna. They will come into the game on the back of a 3-0 win over Sevilla in the midweek round of fixtures and Luis Enrique will be hoping his men continue their winning streak. The last time the two teams met at Camp Nou earlier this season, Malaga were able to hold Barcelona to a goalless draw and the Blaugrana will be hoping to return with 3 points this time around.
Barcelona will be without the services of Rafinha Alcantara who is chalked to miss out on several weeks of action due to a meniscus injury, while Arda Turan is still unavailable due to a groin injury he picked up on international duty. Aleix Vidal is out for the season.
Probable Barcelona Playing XI
Manager Luis Enrique
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK)
The German international has come a long way this season after a shaky first year with Barcelona last term. He will keep his place between the sticks on Saturday.
Javier Mascherano (CB)
The Argentine international is a vital player at the back for the Catalans. His experience and composure will be key against Malaga.
Gerard Pique (CB)
Alongside Mascherano, it will be Gerard Pique in the line-up. The Spaniard has been Barcelona’s best defender this season and needs to play week in week out.
Samuel Umtiti (CB)
And occupying the final spot in the three-man defence will be summer signing Samuel Umtiti. The Frenchman has risen rapidly in his first season with Barca and has become an important member of the squad.
Sergio Busquets (DM)
The Spaniard has been on the rise in recent weeks after an under-par season. He will hope to build on his recent upturn in form.
Denis Suarez (CM)
Ahead of Busquets, we expect a change in the middle of the park, with Ivan Rakitic making way for Denis Suarez. Rakitic has been playing constantly over the past week and could do well with a rest.
Andre Gomes (CM)
Andres Iniesta could be dropped to the bench, which would mean summer signing Andre Gomes coming into the line-up alongside Suarez.
Lionel Messi (CAM)
Made a return to the line-up against Sevilla with a brace. Will occupy the free central role in the attacking third and look to wreak havoc.
Sergi Roberto (RW)
The Spaniard came in the line-up for the previous game in the place of the injured Rafinha and showed he can do the job on the right-flank. Should retain his place.
On the left-flank, we will continue to see the flair and trickery of Neymar. The Brazilian has scored 9 goals in the La Liga this season and would be hoping to enter the double figures soon.
Luis Suarez (ST)
The talismanic Uruguayan is back in hot form and is scoring goals for fun in recent weeks. Definite starter on Saturday.