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Jan 21, 2012

It's always tough to take your focus away from Clasico clashes. Hence Barca's visit to Malaga could be a herculean task in some aspect. First you have to get your feet back on the ground following a sweet victory at Bernebeu, then the big task - keeping the Wednesday's clash with real Madrid at camp Nou in the background. That makes the task in Guardiola's hand quite tricky, add to that the away form our team in this La Liga season. But the five point deficit at the top and the simple fact that we play ahead of Real Madrid shoudl be more than enough for us to be motivated. Traditionally following a Clasico victory, we always have don well in the next matches. So the basic idea would be to cut the lead at top to two points before Real Madrid face Atletic Bilbao. As you all know this fixture was supposed to be the first match of this season and was postponed due to the player's strike. But it is better for us to play them now than in the first week as we know exactly what to expect from them. Malaga FC is owned indirectly by the Qatar Royal family(or precisely by a distant relative of the King), Sandro Rosell would be a very happy to visit them following his own closeness to the Al Thani Family.
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Everyone expected to Malaga to occupy one of the top four slot at the start of the season following the huge infusion of fund. But they haven't yet started to justify that billing. They are right now at eighth in the table with a 5 point deficit with fourth placed Levante. But with the entire second half of the season still to come they do have a great chance. Their last match in Copa against real Madrid clearly shows that it won't be an easy place for Barca to travel. With Demichelis in the centre of defense, they may lack a bit of pace but Pellegrini is clever enough to neutralise that with impeccable opposition. Van Nistelrooy may be past his prime but his previous experience against barca also could come handy. Then they have the best player in Spain outside the top two- Santi Cazorla. With so many players out injured Gardiola doesn't have too many selection issues. Victor Valdes should comeback to the line-up. Puyol should be ideally rested as he has to once again start against Real Madrid. I would rest even Abidal. So for me the ideal back line would feature Mascherano, Adriano, Pique and Alves. The midfield should have Busquets, Iniesta and Xavi. The front trio should be the usual Messi, Sanchez and Cesc. This one as I said could be one tricky match. If complacency doesn't creep into the side, we expect our side to win this game easily. I would go for a 4-1 away victory for us with Messi grabbing a hat-trick.

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