Match Review: Málaga CF vs. FC Barcelona

MALAGA, SPAIN - APRIL 08: Neymar Jr. of FC Barcelona is shown a red card during the La Liga match between Malaga CF and FC Barcelona at La Rosaleda stadium on April 8, 2017 in Malaga, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

FC Barcelona wasted a golden opportunity to go top of the La Liga table as they lost two to nil away to Málaga CF. The team was set up all wrong from the start with an obvious eye towards Champions League play on Tuesday as an excuse. Luis Enrique must shoulder a lot of the blame, but the players themselves must take a serious look in the mirror if there is any doubt why the club won’t win the league this year.

After a dominating performance against Sevilla FC with three in the back the club reverted back to the their classic 4-3-3 formation against Málaga. Marc-André ter Stegen started in goal while Jordi Alba, Jérémy Mathieu, Samuel Umtiti, and Javier Mascherano made up the backline. The latter strangely started the match as a right back. An inefficient midfield was made up of Denis Suárez, Sergio Busquets, and André Gomes. As per usual MSN started as an attacking trident up front.

From a Barcelona perspective the first half was known more from the yellows they received rather than the shots they had on target. Alba got a yellow for afters in the 8th minute, Umtiti earned one for a foul in the 33rd minute, and most importantly Neymar got a silly yellow for time wasting by disallowing a free kick to be taken in the 27th minute. Luis Suarez was denied a glorious chance on goal by Barcelona’s vintage foil Carlos Kameni after a delicious long ball from Alba. Gomes wasted the only other decent chance of the half after he was bodied off the ball in the box after a Lionel Messi dribble and beautiful threaded through ball.

Poor lineup choices, ineffective play, and silly cards aside Barcelona always struggle when coming up against former players. When Malaga’s starting lineup was announced one name stood out boldly on the team sheet, former youth and senior side member Sandro was tasked with leading their line. In the 32nd minute he broke the hearts of Barcelona faithful worldwide. With his great speed, he easily beat Mathieu’s poor attempt to play offside and found himself with Barcelona’s entire half at his disposal. After a few strong dribbles he slotted a stinger of a shot low to MAtS left hand side and put Málaga up one to nil.

Changes had to be made at halftime and Enrique obliged with two new faces entering the fray from the tunnel. Sergi Roberto replaced Mathieu and Andrés Iniesta came on for Denis Suárez. Barcelona supporters have to remain puzzled as to why Gomes is repeatedly given chances to fail. He was a step slow all first half yet Denis was sacrificed. Even considering his heavy price tag and injuries to Rafinha and Arda Turan he should not be allowed to constantly put Barcelona in dangerous positions, the team and the captains already talked about how he has to be in good shape so the team doesn’t get screwed, he said that he got new Boxing gear and that he is constantly training. André was thankfully withdrawn for Paco Alcácer in the 61st minute as Barcelona switched to a 3-3-1-3 formation.

Celebrations were short lived for the club when Neymar earned himself Barcelona’s first red card of the season in the 65th minute after he put in a dumb retaliation tackle after losing the ball. The tackle earned his second yellow of the match. A lot has been made of the Brazilian succeeding Messi as the greatest player in the game in recent weeks. The young player shows he still has a long way to go with poor decisions like these, Messi is still king.

Down to ten men, Barcelona continued to push for the equalizer but were unsuccessful. A series of poor refereeing decisions followed. Málaga were denied an onside goal after a poor call from the linesmen that would have put the game to bed, but blaugrana fans will look to the 79th minute with disdain asking “what could have been?” Sergi was brought down clearly inside the box for an obvious penalty, but Barcelona were awarded a free kick from just outside the penalty area. The game was finally done and dusted in the 90th minute after another former Barcelona youth player, Jony, scored for Málaga on a counter while Barça sent everyone forward into the final third.

Hopefully Barcelona learned a few lessons from this match. If they want to play with four at the back and make the most of Jordi Alba’s talents on the left flank then Sergi Roberto must start as right back. Of all the players on the pitch and even with his limited playing time, the hero of PSG showed the most heart of any Barcelona player. Also three in defense only works if we have Gerard Piqué available to partner Mascherano and Umtiti. Most importantly André Gomes should not be wearing a Barcelona shirt. Why doesn’t Enrique trust Denis Suárez more?





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  • Mecha Martini

    At this time of the season , terrible decisions like these will be costing Barcelona the Spanish La Liga title and deservedly so.

  • Travis Morphy

    well the problem with barca now is Alba if thats the case why not try him in a center back role Alba-Piqu-Umtiti seems logic to me coz i see David Alba of Bayer play center back and did decent job.We cant sell Alba can we? well to be honest if a good offer in range of 70-80 mil imo it will be good to listen to them economical wise and i will revert to the 3-4-3 formation since that gives an extra midfielder to help push the ball to the triedent and i will rely on Digne on copa matchs with a 4-3-3 formation if not barca has to rebuild that crap midfield we lack a long ranger passer and control in that midfield to be honest what a painful lost

  • Frank Bidemi ‘Small’

    I can’t wait for Enrique to leave this team all alone and go away with his clueless Gomes and Mathieu. They both have done more damage to this team than good. Foolish decision, Foolish manager at this stage of the season just cost Barcelona the league title. A repeated mistake or stupidity all season long I must say (Alaves, Leaganes, Depotivo, and Malaga to name a few) why must you be playing a useless player (Gomes) at the detriment of the team and toying with fans emotion all over the world.

  • serko10

    Lucho, true legend. I never want him to leave. Tactical, technical genius. Molding young players into superstars, and buying the greatest reeinforcements who he again, molds into absolute superstars. Best manager on planet earth. haters gonna hate

    • Shaffa Bigman

      I think our problems can be summarized into what Ferdinand n Sports said

      • serko10

        exactly, and that’s been a work in progress dismantling our team for 3 seasons. but people their vision gets distorted when the trophies keep coming. we’ve been dismantled by lucho day by day. it’s sad that most fans can only think in winning and losing, not on the long term consequences of a managerial style.

  • futbolstaviva

    Credit to Juventus as they are a top five sides in the world. Anyone who thinks that Barca should have walked through them should go back to their play stations and whine and/or learn how to play the game of football…
    I don’t want to hear any nonsense like this loss was Lucho’s fault.
    All 3 Juve goals were preventable but as we painfully know, Barca’s defense has faltered all season.
    Dyabla’s goals were terrific but he was unmarked on both.
    Masch covering Chilellini on a corner? Complete mismatch. Giorgio is at least 6 inches taller than Masch.

    Lucho had at his disposal the defense that was available to him.
    Don’t blame Lucho for these defensive mistakes.
    Juve’s game plan was brilliant. Neymar was boxed in all night by Alves and Neymar was poor again for the second match in a row.
    A master class by Alves.

    Offensively Barca had more than enough chances to prevail. Barca had more possession, more attempts, more corners, more shots on goal, etc. They could just not convert ANYTHING.
    Iniesta should have done better with Messi’s sublime through ball and Gigi’s save was typical of him.
    Suarez had at least two clear chances and he bottled them. Messi had a couple of chances as well.
    Neymar should have had a PK when Chiellini blocked his shot on goal, he clearly handled the ball in the box.
    Give one of the best sides in the world, Juventus full props. They deserve credit for this victory.
    3-0 down at home will be tough but we have done it before.
    Visca Barca!

    • serko10

      ah, the paid lucho brigade in full effect lol “don’t blame lucho” man i am cracking up. and not because i want us to lose games, it’s because it’s painfully obvious we were gonna lose quite alot of games this year. malaga and deportivo also top 5 in europe i guess. excuses excuses. juventus had a perfectly clear goal disallowed for offside which it was not. but keep on defending Lucho as if it is not a structural affair. anyway, please feed me more excuses for Lucho

      • futbolista

        Give an intelligent critical analysis of the match and an analysis of the competition.
        Then we can have an adult discussion.

        How old are you? 12?
        You are not a cule or a fan of Barca, simply an underage troll.
        Time for bed and some warm milk sport.

        • Jack

          We all know you’re paid Lucho supporter who is not a true fan of this great club.

          • futbolistaviva

            That’s all you have?
            Ad hominem attacks because you do not have the fubol IQ to critically analyze a match. That is okay because we know you are an underage troll that does not know how to play football. Time for some warm milk and bed sport, like your paid Lucho hater troll, Serko10.

          • serko10

            you’re amusing. i’ve said my say on here for ages and ages, you can look it up. my analysis of lucho has been consistent for 3 years. if you choose to be a dumbass forever that’s your prerogative; i used to post under “serkan” name, go ahead, knock yourself out. Lucho and you and kneowell are hopeless. your love story with lucho is endearing yet sad

          • futbolista

            Ages? That’s a laugh.
            I don’t love Lucho at all. That’s what you reduce everything to. Whether or not one likes or loathes a gaffer.
            How childish.
            I choose to analyze a sport and team that you really know very little about.
            You and your legion of play station fanboys cannot even analyze a match properly or give credit to an opponent. That is the hallmark of amateurs.
            You are a fan boy, probably a teen ager or early 20’s.
            Wake us up when you know how to watch and analyze a match that is front of you.
            Enough with your play station analysis. Drink some warm leche and off to slumber sport.

          • serko10

            the man is still blaming the players and not lucho after this long, and talking about fanboyism. btw, what, are you 60 or something? insulting people with playstation, granpa? Is that the latest humor in the retirement home of pro pundits? lucho apologista . What’s wrong with milk anyway? you’re condescending attempts are hilarious. Is that how you decide how someone is smart or dumb, young or old? if they play playstation and drink milk before bedtime? haha, geezus christ. i guess others are amateurs and you are a paid pundit?

          • Shaffa Bigman

            Serko 10 formerly serkan sevas or so, is one of the best analyzers we have and bro he is no kid. I think the guy is about or even over 40. Constructive analysis is allowed here any day anytime. We all should be allowed to criticize (constructively) cos at the end of it, we all want the very best for our club.

          • serko10

            haha, thanks man. i appreciate it. i’m not that old yet, but i am in my 30s. Admittedly i do have a snarkness to me, but people who’ve been here long enough know i don’t just troll people without ever giving a clear vision on the matter. I had my eye on the matter of how we’re falling apart for a long time now. I don’t think it’s a coincidence or a matter of current circumstances only that we are where we are today as a team. I think it’s something that has been set in motion the moment lucho became our manager and has been masked by a number of things, Opponents showed us too much respect early on, they didn’t have the guts to exploit our weaknesses yet 2 years ago, but they were already there that time too. By now those weaknesses are far worse. and i will defend it to the grave that i hold Lucho and his team responsible for that. Not the players, and not Andre Gomez, or anyone else.