Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to totalBarça’s new series, ‘The Barça B Roundup’. Week 2 of the 2015/16 Segunda División B season was not the one Barcelona B would have wanted. The reserves returned to the Miniestadi for the first time since last season’s fateful match against Leganés, which sealed the team’s relegation from the Liga Adelante. For those hoping to see the start of new hope, the match against La Pobla de Mafumet was a disappointment. In this week’s edition, we shall be looking at why Gerard López is still in the hunt for his first Barça B win.
A well executed Thomas Vermaelen volley – the Belgian’s excellent technique a testament to his growing confidence, his newly found form, and growing role in the squad – was all that separated Javi Gracia’s Málaga CF and Luis Enrique’s FC Barcelona. As was the case in the La Liga opening fixture against Athletic Bilbao, this match too was defined by the two previous encounters between the sides- it is well known that Malaga collected four points against Luis Enrique’s treble winning team last season, while completing 180 minutes of superb defensive football without conceding a single goal to what many consider the best attacking trio in football history.
Despite both ‘Samus’ leaving Malaga for Villarreal, Gracia was expected to keep the same system and mimic the approach that worked so well for him last season. For Luis Enrique, it was an odd opportunity to prove that his team had evolved, could beat the squad that had been a minor thorn in their side last season, and a chance to remind us that their positional, possession based style attack is still as dominant as it once was and hasn’t fallen into disuse now that the trident have become more accustomed to attacking the space in transition.
It was a game where the scoreline didn’t totally reflect the state of the game, but culés should be very satisfied with the 3 points. FC Barcelona finally managed to take 3 points against Málaga for the first time since Luis Enrique has taken the helm. With shades of Sergio Busquets’ volley at Mestalla last season, Thomas Vermaelen stepped up to win the game and ensure that the club stays 2 points ahead of Real Madrid. More after the break.
totalBarça’s Match Center has all you need for tonight’s liga game against Malaga CF. The match kicks off at 20:30 Barcelona time – find your local time here. If you’re looking for a high quality stream, check out our new partnership with fubo.tv.
Check out the lineups, match events, streams and live chat, after the jump. As soon as the game is finished, you will be able to submit your ratings for the players as well. Welcome to the totalBarça Match Center – from pre-game to post, we’ve got everything you need for Barcelona vs Malaga.
Málaga CF may have finished ninth in La Liga last season, but they are not to be underestimated. They are the only team in all of Europe to play Barcelona and not concede in 2014-15: The Andalusians took four points off Barcelona in 2014/15 and managed to win 1-0 at Camp Nou. 45-year-old manager Javi Gracia made a massive impact in his first season coaching in La Liga, and under him Málaga have become a superbly organized defensive team. Much like Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid in 2013/14, Málaga had Barcelona’s number last season – so can the Catalans break the curse?