Malaga slipped to fifth place as they were beaten at home by Rayo Vallecano, but after ensuring their place in the Champions League knockout stages, los Boquerones will fully focus on returning to winning ways in La Liga. Real Sociedad, on the other hand, are in a very difficult position, while the dismal away record doesn’t give them much reason for optimism ahead of the trip to La Rosaleda.
Malaga impress in Europe
Considering the circumstances, Malaga have been doing remarkably well this season, with their example showing that players can keep performing at a very high level even when they are not completely satisfied with the situation at a club. Los Boquerones have done brilliantly to ensure their place in the next round of Champions League after just four rounds, with three straight victories followed by a 1-1 draw at San Siro. Manuel Pellegrini’s side did end their good run in La Liga as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to Rayo Vallecano, but the good showing against Milan proved it was nothing more than a one-off result. Boosted by their Champions League success, as well as the return of important midfielder Jeremy Toulalan, Malaga look a good bet to see off one of the worst travelers in La Liga.
Jeremy Toulalan is set to start his first game after six weeks, while Julio Bapista is also nearing his return. Nacho Monreal remains sidelined, while Ignacio Camacho and Martin Demichelis are both suspended.
Four defeats in last five
Real Sociedad were never a force to be reckoned with on the travels, but their impressive showings at Anoeta were usually enough to keep the team above the danger zone. This season seemed to be no different as the Basque side won their first three home games and lost first three away fixtures, but Philippe Montanier’s side have now started struggling at home as well. While losing to Real Betis and Cordoba on the travels, Real Sociedad also lost at home to Atletico Madrid and Espanyol, while bringing one point from Valladolid. With the team now just one point above the bottom three and largely struggling for form, a trip to La Rosaleda clearly comes at a bad time. Boss Montanier is also under extreme pressure following the disappointing start to the season, which should only worsen the atmosphere in the team.
Asier Illarramendi and Imanol Agirretxe are back in contention, but Claudio Bravo, Gorka Elustondo, David Zurutuza and Antoine Griezmann are out injured.
Malaga are clearly in a very good form at the moment and the hosts will be very motivated to build on their amazing European success. Real Sociedad, on the other hand, are not only one of the worst travelers in the elite division, but they are also completely out of form.
Top pick: Home win 1.62 (5/8) @ William Hill
Alternative pick 1: Malaga/Malaga 2.30 (13/10) @ Paddy Power
Alternative pick 2: Malaga with -1 handicap 2.50 (3/2) @ bet365