Barcelona vs Malaga: Three things that will shape the outcome

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Barcelona host Malaga in the second match of the 2015/16 La Liga season.

Los Boquerones were the only team to stop the Catalans from scoring in their treble-winning season, holding them to a goalless draw at La Rosaleda and taking all three points at Camp Nou after an insipid display from the hosts in February.

It was the last time that Barca lost in the league and rest assured the Blaugrana will be out to avenge that defeat this weekend.


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Let's take a look at three things that might shape the outcome to the game...

Emergence of Roberto

The time has come. Sergi Roberto has finally been given the opportunity of his professional life. Dani Alves is out for a month, Martin Montoya has been sold to Inter Milan and Douglas is also on the treatment table.

Right wing-back probably wasn't in Roberto's sight line when he was coming up through the ranks at La Masia but he hasn't impressed enough in the midfield position for which he has been groomed.

After a relatively impressive run out in the position during pre-season, Roberto really came of age once Alves couldn't continue in the first La Liga game of this season at Athletic Bilbao. 

The youngster produced a man-of-the-match performance and was a whisker away from getting his name on the score sheet, the woodwork denying him a well deserved score. His passing was on point and whilst not quite as exuberant as Alves, he was workmanlike and busy.

Luis Enrique has options there after all.

No Juanmi, no problem

A mistake by Dani Alves after just six minutes of the last match between the sides let in Juanmi to slot home what turned out to be the winner.

A scorer of his fair share of goals, Juanmi has now departed for Southampton in the Premier League, but Javi Gracia has bought well to replace him.

Both Charles, a summer capture from Celta Vigo, and loanee Duje Cop, will give Barca's makeshift defence some food for thought throughout.

Against a strong Sevilla side in the season opener both players made their presence felt, and Barca would do well to take them a bit more seriously than that February date or else they're in for another rude awakening.

Three musketeers return

It's only been two weeks without the full complement of strikers, but Barca have certainly suffered in Neymar's absence.

Athletic Bilbao showed that they could certainly handle two of the three musketeers, but three would surely have been beyond their capabilities.

Malaga will have a fight on their hands to contain all three in what is the first league home game of the season.

Luis Suarez continues to be the man in form and will target the ageing Angeleri to ensure that he profits from the creativity of Messi and Neymar.

Luis Enrique needs his side on the front foot from the off to ensure that as little pressure as possible is put on the defence.

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