Espanyol vs Malaga by Jimeno
After very positive performances in the pre-season friendly matches and a 2:2 draw against Juventus in their last rehearsal before the season opening game for them, Espanyol failed to build up on these results and suffered 6:4 defeat away to Sevilla last weekend. Without any doubt, it was the most interesting match of the round with the visiting side having the lead twice in the first halftime, but that wasn't enough to get a point against offensively in-form Sevilla.
Their hosts completely reacted in the second halftime and dominated that part of the game as much as possible, scoring three goals in first thirty minutes, while they could only reduce the deficit towards the end of the game. Overall, the team showed good offensive qualities, but needs to find out more balance between their offensive game and defensive approach. Their coach has said that he won't make radical changes, since he believes in his starting eleven and that the defeats are part of that process.
Hosts will most likely continue with their 4-4-2 formation with Moreno and Baptistao as strikers. Despite six goals conceded away to Sevilla, their manager Quique Sanchez Flores will not change too much for tonight's game. Central defender Oscar Duarte is injury doubt and Martin Demichelis will probably step in at his position.
Malaga, on the other side, comes from a 1:1 draw in front of own fans against newly promoted Osasuna last weekend. They were the first to take the lead, in 56th minute with a goal from Juanpi, but the visitors surprised them five minutes before the full time whistle and leveled up the result via Merida, leaving them very little time to respond further.
They were slightly better than the opponents during the match, but it wasn't enough for a convincing victory and we could say that the draw was a fair outcome. It was obvious that the team needs some re-inforcement in attack and it proved that the coach Juande Ramos is right when insisting on bringing another striker to his team. They signed Uruguayan Michael Santos from River Plate (Montevideo) earlier this Summer, but the player didn't play last weekend, neither he will tonight, needing much more time to be fully fit.
Malaga should be playing in 4-2-3-1 formation with Ramirez as striker, plus Keko, Juanpi and Jony as offensive midfielders. Central defender Welington is struggling with a knee injury, so Kone should start at that position. Attacking left midfielder Adnane Tighadouini also remains doubtful. Even though they disappointed in the season opener, the team also probably won't be changed a lot.
- Malaga have failed to score in their last 3 away matches (La Liga).
- Espanyol are undefeated in their last 8 matches against Malaga.
Espanyol conceded six goals against strong Sevilla, but at the same time, the team showed some decent phases in offense. Malaga comes from rather poor performance against newly promoted Osasuna and I don't see them reacting that well today's either. The team is known for far less quality performances away from home and I definitely give advantage to Espanyol now.