Atletico Madrid could climb to the top of La Liga standings with three points from this match, provided Real Madrid avoid defeat at Camp Nou, and that should be enough incentive to try and beat Malaga. Los Boquerones have been equally impressive at the start of the season, and they will fancy their chances at Vicente Calderon after the 3-0 Champions League win over Anderlecht.
Falcao is back
I am slowly running out of words to describe Atletico Madrid’s performances under Diego Simeone, but the eight-match winning run in all competitions pretty much speaks for itself. While Radamel Falcao Garcia is the number one player on the teamsheet, with 7 goals in first 5 league games, los Colchoneros are much more than just one man, with the team playing really well even when the Colombian is not in the side. The mere fact that Atletico Madrid could climb to the La Liga summit after this round is enough to show us how well the team have played of late, and there are no doubts the hosts will be very motivated to continue the great run of results. With most of the starters well rested after missing the Europa League win over Viktoria Plzen and Radamel Falcao Garcia back to the side after recovering from injury, los Colchoneros can be trusted to continue the impressive scoring run that has seen them bag 24 goals in 9 games this season.
Arda Turan is expected to start after shaking off a minor knock, but Tiago is doubtful with an ankle problem.
How’s that for a cash-strapped club!
I have to admit I expected Malaga to struggle this season after they stayed with a number of key players in the summer, but los Boquerones quickly proved me wrong. The impressive showing in the Champions League play-offs against Panathinaikos hinted players like Cazorla, Rondon, Maresca and Mathijsen will not be sorely missed, but that was just the beginning of a great run for Malaga. The ten-match unbeaten run that is still active included 3-0 wins over Zenit and Anderlecht as well as a 4-0 victory over Real Betis, so it is fair to say Manuel Pellegrini’s side have been scoring goals for fun. The record of 8 clean sheets in 10 games this season will be put to a serious test against the likes of Falcao, Turan and Adrian, but Malaga are expected to continue their amazing scoring run.
Boss Manuel Pellegrini has no fresh injury worries, but Jeremy Toulalan and Julio Baptista are long-term worries.
With Atletico Madrid and Malaga both firing on all cylinders at the moment, the game has over 2.5 goals written all over it. Both sides are full of confidence and very motivated to continue the great run of results, so there is every chance we will see a spectacular game of football at Vicente Calderon.
Our prediction: Over 2.5 goals
Odds: 1.80 (4/5)