Malaga aim to end a four-match winless run at home and at the same time cement the fourth place in the standings. Given that Athletic Bilbao desperately need to make amends for the embarrassing 4-0 home defeat to Espanyol, there is every chance we will see an enthralling encounter at La Rosaleda.
Another away victory
In spite of the serious financial problems pulling them back, Malaga have done brilliantly to get the most of this season, and it seems they cannot be stopped. Los Boquerones largely impressed to win the first place in their Champions League group, although they were somewhat unfortunate to be pitted against very good Porto side. The match in Portugal is scheduled for Tuesday, but Manuel Pellegrini’s side first need to focus on the league clash against Athletic Bilbao. While winning their last two away fixtures in La Liga, Malaga have failed to win any of their last three at home, which is a cause for concern at the moment. Nonetheless, boosted by the 2-1 win over Levante, los Boquerones should be able to produce another solid attacking showing and make sure they keep the positive atmosphere in the squad before the crunch tie with Porto.
Duda and Weligton are both available after recovering from injury, but Eliseu remains on the sidelines. Manuel Pellegrini might decide to rest some of his starters with a view to the match against Porto.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Nobody could imagine that Athletic would fall so low just one season after setting the world alight with their memorable showings in Europa League and Copa del Rey, but the reality is los Leones are now nothing more than genuine relegation strugglers. Every once in a while, they produce a performance worthy of their quality, but there have been much more disappointing showings this term. Athletic looked to have returned to the right track as they picked up five points from three very difficult matches, but then came the 4-0 home defeat to relegation strugglers Espanyol, and it’s now back to the drawing board for Marcelo Bielsa. With the team lacking any sort of consistency, nobody can know what to expect from them at La Rosaleda, although goals should be a safe bet every time Athletic are on the pitch.
Carlos Gurpegui, Fernando Llorente and Ibai Gomez are all back in contention, but Fernando Amorebieta, Iker Muniain and Borja Ekiza are out injured.
A lot will depend on whether Manuel Pellegrini decides to rest his star players, so our advice is not to back any of the sides until you have seen the starting line-ups. Regardless, we should see quite a few goals at La Rosaleda when two attack-minded sides face each other.
Top pick: Both teams to score 1.80 (4/5) @ 888sport
Alternative pick 1: Over 2.5 goals 1.83 (5/6) @ Paddy Power
Alternative pick 2: Over 3.5 goals 3.25 (9/4) @ Stan James
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