Barcelona aim to finish the season on a high and after scoring seven past Rayo Vallecani, the Catalans will be hoping for another convincing victory. Malaga, on the other hand, are on the verge of clinching Champions League qualification and a good result at Camp Nou would help them edge closer to the historic success.
Great response to Champions League exit
A lot has happened at Barcelona over these last couple of weeks and the fans were certainly delighted to see the team respond with the 7-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano. The club have been forced to deal with three major disappointments during this period, having dropped out of the La Liga and Champions League title race, but Pep Guardiola’s decision to leave the post at the end of the season was probably the biggest blow. In spite of all the problems, the Catalans have shown they are still a force to be reckoned with and there are no doubts the players will give their best to finish the season on a high and thus thank Guardiola for everything he has done for them. The match against Champions League hopefuls Malaga is going to be a lot more difficult than the one played at Teresa Rivero, but needless to say the hosts will be looking to attack their opponents from the off.
Alexis Sanchez and Gerard Pique has been ruled out through injury, whereas Ibrahim Afellay has finally returned into action.
Malaga closing in on Champions League qualification
Boosted by the heavy summer recruitment and the arrival of players like Santi Cazorla, Isco, Nacho Monreal and Jeremy Toulalan, to name just a few, Malaga didn’t need a lot of time to prove they are genuine top 4 contenders. Manuel Pellegrini’s side kept raising their game as the season progressed and they are now on the verge of clinching Champions League qualification. With just three games to go, los Boquerones are three points clear of fifth-placed Levante, whereas they could even finish in third place after the weekend’s victory over Valencia saw them close the gap behind los Che. Seeing they travel to Madrid to play Atletico next weekend, Malaga have got to try and get something from Camp Nou and Santi Cazorla is adamant los Boquerones will not be afraid to attack their more illustrious opponents.
Enzo Maresca has been ruled out for the season after dislocating his shoulder, while Joris Mathijsen has joined Julio Baptista, Jeremy Toulalan and Willy Caballero in the infirmary.
With Barcelona looking to end the season on a high and Malaga desperate to get something from this match, we should see a very open game at Camp Nou. The Catalans are obviously the favourites here, but Malaga have enough attacking potential to hurt their weakened defence, so both teams to score looks a good bet here.
Our prediction: Both teams to score
Odds: 1.80 (4/5)
Bookmaker: Stan James