Given that Barcelona failed to beat Sevilla last Saturday, their advantage over Real Madrid on the league table has been reduced to only two points and, therefore, Los Blancos have a chance to recover the leadership this weekend. The culés host Valencia at 16:00 CET in a very complicated game that they need to win in order to remain in control of the situation since, otherwise, Real Madrid could overtake them if they beat Málaga four hours later, in the Santiago Bernabéu.
As Ancelotti said earlier in the pre-match press conference, tomorrow's game is just as important as the Champions League one against Atlético to be played on Wednesday, since his aim is to win both the league and the Champions League. We should remember that Málaga beat Barcelona in the Camp Nou back in February, and they tied against Atlético last Saturday, so they must not be underestimated. Our players will need to be totally focused in order to get the three points.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="es"><p>Ancelotti: "Coentrao will not play tomorrow, this isn't a game for us to give minutes to players who aren't ready."</p>— Lucas Navarrete (@LucasNavarreteM) <a href="https://twitter.com/LucasNavarreteM/status/589014298300653569">abril 17, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Although the game against Atlético is only four days away, no rotations should be expected. Benzema, who left today's training session with some physical problems, has been left out of the squad list (but, according to Ancelotti, he will be ready to play against Atlético), and Pepe's condition may still not be optimal. Our coach said this morning that he has not decided what his lineup will be, but he still has one day left to choose between Isco, Chicharito or Jesé to replace Benzema, and to evaluate Pepe's recovery to give him a starting spot or keep trusting Raphael Varane.
The Boquerones get to the Bernabéu sitting in a very comfortable 7th position on the league table, five points above Espanyol and fighting for a spot in UEFA Europa League's next edition, but in a worse condition than back when they beat Barcelona, since they have only managed to get five points in the last six games. Coach Javi Gracia has been able to build a very balanced team with a solid defensive system and a great ability to counterattack, but they do not hesitate to control the possession and set the tempo of the game if they are given the chance to.
Unfortunately for them, centerback Weligton and central midfielder Camacho, which are arguably their most important players in building that robustness, will not feature tomorrow, and therefore, they will have to trust on the inspiration of their offensive players, like Amrabat, Samu García, Juanmi or Castillejo.
By the time this game starts, our players will already know if Nuno's men have been able to conquer the Camp Nou. If so, they should be just in the right mood to beat Málaga and get the leadership in La Liga but, otherwise, they must do their best to win and keep track of the culés, that will still have six more chances to drop points before the season ends.