Valverde to make 6 changes – Predicted 4-4-2 Barcelona lineup to face Malaga
Barcelona will travel to La Rosaleda this weekend as they gear up to take on La Liga bottom dwellers Malaga on Saturday.
The Catalans sit at the top of the table with 69 points from 27 games and look set to lift the La Liga title following their 1-0 win over second-placed Atletico Madrid last weekend, widening the gap to eight points. Manager Ernesto Valverde will be keen on avoiding any slip-ups in the coming weeks though and will be hoping that his side put in a professional display at the Rosaleda.
Having rested a number of key players for the Supercopa de Catalunya game during the midweek against Espanyol, which Barca won on penalties, Valverde is likely to once again leave some of his star players out, keeping in mind the UEFA Champions League game against Chelsea up next.
However, Denis Suarez who picked up an injury in the midweek will miss out on the action for at least three weeks. Meanwhile, Nelson Semedo is also ruled out with an injury. Captain Andres Iniesta is also a doubt for the game with an injury.
Here’s how the Catalans could line up against Malaga on Saturday;
Manager: Ernesto Valverde
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK)
The German international is likely to return between the sticks after sitting out of the midweek game, meaning Jasper Cillesen will miss out.
Sergi Roberto (RB)
The Spaniard has nailed down the right-back spot for himself this term and with Nelson Semedo ruled out, he will start on Saturday.
Yerry Mina (CB)
The Colombian featured from the kickoff in the midweek game against Espanyol and might be in line for another start on Saturday, with Valverde likely to preserve Gerard Pique for the European game.
Thomas Vermaelen (CB)
The former Arsenal captain could be set to partner up with Mina in the heart of the defence ahead of Samuel Umtiti, keeping in view the Chelsea game.
Lucas Digne (LB)
With the crucial European game coming next, Jordi Alba could also be given a day off, meaning Lucas Digne could be in line for a start at left-back.
Aleix Vidal (RM)
The 28-year-old Spaniard should once again start on the right-side of the midfield four for the Blaugrana for Saturday night’s encounter.
Andre Gomes (CM)
The Portuguese international will be set to make his 13th Liga appearance of the season, despite being jeered by a set of supporters in the win over Atletico last weekend.
Sergio Busquets (CM)
Few are as good as the Spaniard in his position and he will be expected to start on Saturday alongside Gomes in the middle.
Philippe Coutinho (LM)
The former Liverpool man is ineligible to represent Barca in the Champions League, meaning he will definitely be involved on Saturday on the left-flank.
Paco Alcacer (ST)
The former Valencia striker hasn’t seen a lot of game time since his return from injury but could be set for a start on Saturday in place of Lionel Messi.
Luis Suarez (ST)
Alongside Alcacer, Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez will be expected to take the pitch from the get-go. Has been in good form of late and will be looking to make it count.