Malaga were beaten for the third consecutive match last weekend, going down 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao, a result that subsequently saw head coach Marcelo Romero removed after an unsuccessful 10-game spell.
The Costa del Sol club has been in a state of disarray since the peculiar departure of Juande Ramos before Christmas and a return of W1-D2-L8 over the past 11 games has seen the Anchovies drop down the La Liga standings.
Relegation from the top-tier looks unlikely but Malaga will be hoping to arrest their slide with a positive Saturday evening performance at their La Roselada base under new boss Michel.
Michel the man to turn Malaga’s ship?
The former Getafe and Olympiakos coach should put the Andalusians back on the street and narrow but it may take time for Malaga to find their feet once more. The hosts notched just eight goals in that 11-game sample whilst their form in front of their home supporters has also deserted them.
The Anchovies have taken maximum points just once at La Roselada since November. Injuries haven’t helped the south coast side and Michel must do without suspended central midfielder Pablo Fornals here. Key midfielder Ignacio Camacho is also battling to overcome an ankle knock.
Alaves to avoid defeat
With the hosts far from imperious, I’m backing Alaves to collect at least a point from Saturday evening’s contest. The visitors were outstanding when holding title-chasing to a 1-1 draw on Monday night in a match that should have seen El Glorioso grab all three points.
It’s fair to say that Mauricio Pellegrino’s men have shifted focus towards the Copa del Rey – only their second ever cup final – a remarkable achievement for a club that and only four years ago were playing in the regionalised, four-division, 80-team, theoretically amateur Segunda Division B.
Since booking their place in the end-of-season extravaganza, results have been mixed (W2-D1-L2) but recent performances have impressive with energy and drive – two crucial characterises of Alaves’ play – returning in droves.
The visitors have suffered only three losses since mid-November and been beaten twice in 13 fixtures against teams currently below them in the La Liga standings. Chuck in just five defeats in 13 away trips and five clean sheets in eight games as guests and El Glorioso should be well capable of avoiding defeat.
Theo Hernandez joins Alexis on Alaves’ suspended list but there’s enough positives to believe the newly-promoted side can put us on the path to profit with a +0.50 start on the Asian Handicap line at odds of 1.90 this weekend.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Alaves +0.50 at 1.90
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Prices correct at time of writing.